Hi, friends! Happy Tuesday! I’m calling this post, “How to get rid of Barn Swallows”. I tell you, though, these birds are very persistent and stubborn! Come see what’s worked for us so far!
A few months ago a pair of birds started building a nest in our portico. The nest appeared to be built out of mud and grass. (Thus we deduced they were a sort of barn swallow?) By the time we realized what was happening, the nest was nearly complete. My husband wanted to tear it down, but they’d worked SO hard on it, and I begged him not to. So, he left it. The babies hatched, and for several weeks the parents flew in and out, constantly taking turns feeding the babies. Honestly, I thought it was sweet and that somehow we were helping out Mother Nature.
For WEEKS the birds flew in and out of the portico anytime we opened the front door. The parents were very protective, so they dive-bombed us whenever we tried to enter or exit. Even Lacey, our sweet golden retriever was a target. No one was spared. So, we started using the garage entrance whenever possible. And, they were messy!! This is the pile of bird poop below their nest. This wasn’t even all of it. This is after cleaning it twice!
My husband complained daily and I was also getting tired of the mess and hassle. Just a few more days I kept saying.
Low and behold, one day they finally flew away. I saw the 4 babies and the parents flying around the house happily singing and chirping. No one was happier than me! I felt like a proud momma watching the babies spread their wings and fly away on their own. I patted myself on the back for a job well done. You’re welcome Mother Nature.
Time to clean up! I used an extension pole with a hook on it and pulled down the mud nest. Then I got out the hose and cleaned off the bird poop and the feathers. We finally had the portico to ourselves again!
It took all of a few hours, when they came back! All 6 of them. I started researching swallows and their habits and learned that even after the birds initially fly away, they return to the nest for weeks to rest and eat. They seemed confused that their nest was missing and it looked like they might try to build another. Sorry, guys. This hotel is closed.
I researched more. The internet recommended removing the entire nest and scent, so my husband pressure washed where the nest had been, along with the entire interior of the portico. (Meanwhile muttering something like, “I told you so”.) To further mask any remaining smells, I put 3 bags of moth balls on the front porch. The birds watched from the trees. Plotting. It was like a scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s,”The Birds”.
The cleaning and moth balls weren’t working. The birds were starting to fly in and out and we were afraid they were all going to pitch in to build a bigger, better nest. After all, there were 6 of them now. So we went to Tractor Supply and bought a huge plastic owl and hung him over the front door to scare the swallows. Attractive, right? At least he’s brown to match the doors.
This guy set us back around $13. He has a loop on the top of his head so hanging him from a string was simple. There is also a hole underneath the owl so you can put him on a pole in the yard. Either way.
We added two smaller owls in the urns. I swear it looked like we were decorating for Halloween and an owl family had replaced the swallow family. For good measure, I plugged in an electric ultrasonic pest repeller which emits high-frequency sound waves and a low chirping sound to further deter the birds from returning.
Swallows, apparently, are migratory birds and return to the same place to nest year after year. Had I known that, I would have had my husband tear down the nest on Day 1. Despite all of our efforts, the birds came back for weeks, swooping in and out of the portico. They seemed confused by the owls and the lack of their former scent and nest. I kept moving the owls around and altering the level of sounds from the ultrasonic pest repeller. It’s been about a month and no sign of the birds now! Hallelujah! I’m hoping they are gone for good and have found a new home. Somewhere far, far away.
In case you are faced with the same dilemma, the combination of fake owls, moth balls and ultra-sonic pest repeller seems to have worked for us. I think the key is to remove all traces of the nest first. But the best idea is to discourage them from nesting in the beginning. Have you ever had swallows or similar birds? I’m curious as to how you reacted?
Now that the birds are gone, we are focusing on a few big projects! We are prepping for our new flooring for our basement next week as well as new paint for the lake house. Stay tuned for details on both! I hope you have a wonderful and restful night! (Try not to dream about The Birds! haha) Sweet dreams! xo Dell