(Cliff) Swallows Control Solutions

Swallows Control Solutions

Cliff swallows are slender, sleek birds well known for their long migration. Cliff swallows spend their winters in South America and summers in North America. They arrive in or around April. They are very territorial and will always attempt to come back to the same nesting site. The cliff swallow has made a very successful switch from cliffs to manmade structures for nest placement. Increased insect population from modern agriculture and shelter created by manmade structures are two reasons given for this transition. The cliff swallow now faces strong competition from the introduced house sparrow for food and shelter. This may be why their numbers appear to be dwindling. The cliff swallow is a protected species and their arrival is a sign of spring for many.

 

Damage
Cliff swallows can be a major nuisance in suburban areas due to their nestling habits. The mud nests damage and deface the outer walls and eaves of residences and office buildings. Building sides often end up smeared with feces from the bird colony along with collecting on the ground. Parasites have been known entering the building through cracks next to the nests. 

 

Control 
Cliff swallows enjoy special protection under the law. Only a permitted company like Hawkeye can disturb them once they have built their nest. Controls include; Falconry, capture netting. A good way to eliminate cliff swallow problems is to take down the nests in the winter while they are gone and exclude them from returning using exclusion netting.


Physical Description 
The Swallow has a dull forehead; blue-black back, crown, wings and tail; brownish red face and throat; and a white belly. Look for a squared off tail (barn swallows have forked tails) and a pale yellow rump (purple martins have a solid colored back). Juveniles have similar coloring but duller.


Nesting 
Swallows build elaborate nests out of mud pellets. The cliff swallow packs mud pellets in the upper eaves of a building. The resulting nest will resemble a wine carafe or flask with the opening on the side. They line the nest with grass and feathers. Nests are packed together in close knit colonies. The colonies range in size from a few to several thousand. Breeding Cliff swallows have two broods per year with each brood containing four to five eggs. Egg coloration will be white, cream or pale pink with brown spots on some of the eggs. The eggs take 12 to 14 days to hatch. Fledglings leave the nest after 25 days.


Cycles
Cliff Swallows migrate each year between North and South America. They winter in South America and summer in North America.
Bird Facts Height/Weight - 4/1 oz Life Span - 4-6 years in the wild and up to 12 years in captivity Flight Speed - 15-45 mph Range - across country rural to urban areas Food - well noted insects eater Habitat - Suburban areas adjacent to open fields and water.