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Mitigation

Bank swallows are considered a threatened species and have been since 2013. So really the best way to deal with bank swallows is prevention. In areas like construction sites, there are large dirt piles on steep angels which as described earlier are perfect for the nesting of bank swallows. In order to keep them off your job site or property, ensure that any pile or bank is sloped less than 75 degrees, and if possible provide a pile or bank that is suitable and close by for them to use as an alternative nesting site. If you know for a fact a nest was created within the past 2 days, the bank can be destroyed, but any time after that there is nothing that can be done about a nest because there is no way to tell if an egg has been laid in a nest after this.

What Hawkeye can do to help?

The number one solution for swallow control is Falconry and birds of prey. Depending on the task at hand different birds of prey can be used for the nesting prevention of swallows. Flying birds of prey in the general area will instil a sense of fear in the swallows encouraging them to nest elsewhere. This service must be done by a professional. Contact Hawkeye today at 416-429-5393 for your own personalized swallow solution.

Range and Habitat

The bank swallow can be found all over North America. But their largest population can be found in Southern Ontario surrounding the Great Lakes; this is where they spend the summers breeding, and then migrate into the United States during the winter. They commonly nest in banks, hence the name bank swallow, but can also be found on bluffs and cliffs and pretty much any large open face mud, sand or dirt structures. They tend to totally avoid heavily forested areas.

Physical Attributes

Bank swallows are a very small song bird, much smaller than a barn swallow, which are almost entirely a drab brown colour from the back aside from a white faded line around the nape of their neck. Alternatively, there chest and neck is almost entirely white aside from a brown breast band just below their neck. They sport a very small beak perfect for catching insects and they also have a very short rounded tail that is entirely brown.

Nesting and Diet Habits

Using their feet and beak, these tiny birds excavate small holes in the sides of sand hills, banks, cliffs, pretty much any hard sand like material they can dig in to; but there are certain specifications that must be met including the angle of the hill, and the firmness of the bank. Bank swallows nest on banks that range from 75 to 105 degrees; meaning a hill that is slightly inclined from a 90 degree angle or even those that are slightly reclined from the 90 degree angle. This range is optimal for bank swallows, but the sand or dirt needs to be firm enough to support to form a nest without collapse but also not firm enough that they can’t dig out a hole with just their feet and beak. But with these two features in perfect harmony, you are bound to find colonies of bank swallows nesting.