Barn Swallow

Order: Passeriformes
Family: Hirundinidae
Genus: Hirundo
Species: rustica

La. passer sparrow, small bird
La. forma form, kind, species
lLa. hirundo a swallow
La. rusticus rural, country

Six to seven inches long. Dark steel blue almost black head, back, long thin speedy wings and deeply forked tail with white spots. Rich chestnut forehead, throat and breast. Light brown underside. Short wide beak.

Painting of barn swallows perched high on tree top branches.
These voracious insect eating birds are most always welcome neighbors. They hunt their prey in graceful aerobatics in open fields and farm yards. They also eat berries in late summer when they gather in large flocks before migrating.
Barn swallows breed and nest in large regions of North America, Europe and Asia.
Barn swallows have lived near humans for hundreds of years. Almost always inhabit buildings and structures in rural areas throughout most of North America and parts of Greenland. Winters in Central and South America. Additional subspecies inhabit Europe and Asia and winter as far south as South Africa and Australia.

They dive at intruders, human visitors and farm cats in their chosen barn yards, snap their beaks and pull away just before making contact, although they become accustomed to their familiar inhabitant neighbors.

They build nests of mud pellets reinforced with grass or straw and lined with fine grass and feathers attached to ceiling rafters or walls near a ceiling almost always in open barns or other out buildings, country churches, long covered bridges of New England, beneath piers or open boat houses, sometimes under eaves.

Females usually lay about three to six speckled white eggs which hatch after about two weeks incubation and fledglings leave the nest in about another three. Raise two broods.

Adolescents from the first brood remain in the family and help feed the next brood of the same season.

They often return to their former nesting places.

Painting of barn swallows swooping throughout a barn yard catching flying insects.
Females lay 3-6 white eggs, which hatch after about two weeks incubation and young leave the nest in about another two weeks. Often raise two broods in a season.
Barn and cliff swallows don’t need assistance beyond the human made structures they normally exploit, but they have been attracted to areas within their range by adding some type of overhead mantel to existing structures which did not previously provide shelter.

Obviously, if shelter is available, there is no need for these designs. Unless, for example, you don’t want them nesting under your porch and the mess they can make, you can draw them away to an alternative.

Even if it’s a long shot, it’s very little effort and they are nice looking ornaments.

One shelter has a 2″ by 8″ ledge, approximately a 8″ high gable roof, an open front and partially open sides. Another has a 2″ by 6″ ledge, approximately a 6″ ceiling, an open front and partially open sides.

If there are no open barns, sheds or eaves, mount a shelter high on the side of a barn, shed or garage. Do not mount in a tree. Make sure objects that cats and squirrels can climb do not provide access to the nest. Cats can leap 8′ horizontally! The purpose is to simulate a cliff face.

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Barn Swallow

Painting of barn swallows perched high on tree top branches.
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Hirundinidae
Genus: Hirundo
Species: rustica

La. passer sparrow, small bird
La. forma form, kind, species
lLa. hirundo a swallow
La. rusticus rural, country

Six to seven inches long. Dark steel blue almost black head, back, long thin speedy wings and deeply forked tail with white spots. Rich chestnut forehead, throat and breast. Light brown underside. Short wide beak.

These voracious insect eating birds are most always welcome neighbors. They hunt their prey in graceful aerobatics in open fields and farm yards. They also eat berries in late summer when they gather in large flocks before migrating.
Barn swallows breed and nest in large regions of North America, Europe and Asia.
Barn swallows have lived near humans for hundreds of years. Almost always inhabit buildings and structures in rural areas throughout most of North America and parts of Greenland. Winters in Central and South America. Additional subspecies inhabit Europe and Asia and winter as far south as South Africa and Australia. They dive at intruders, human visitors and farm cats in their chosen barn yards, snap their beaks and pull away just before making contact, although they become accustomed to their familiar inhabitant neighbors.
Painting of barn swallows swooping throughout a barn yard catching flying insects.
They build nests of mud pellets reinforced with grass or straw and lined with fine grass and feathers attached to ceiling rafters or walls near a ceiling almost always in open barns or other out buildings, country churches, long covered bridges of New England, beneath piers or open boat houses, sometimes under eaves.

Females usually lay about three to six speckled white eggs which hatch after about two weeks incubation and fledglings leave the nest in about another three. Raise two broods.

Adolescents from the first brood remain in the family and help feed the next brood of the same season.

Females lay 3-6 white eggs, which hatch after about two weeks incubation and young leave the nest in about another two weeks. Often raise two broods in a season. They often return to their former nesting places.

Barn and cliff swallows don’t need assistance beyond the human made structures they normally exploit, but they have been attracted to areas within their range by adding some type of overhead mantel to existing structures which did not previously provide shelter.

Obviously, if shelter is available, there is no need for these designs. Unless, for example, you don’t want them nesting under your porch and the mess they can make, you can draw them away to an alternative.

Even if it’s a long shot, it’s very little effort and they are nice looking ornaments.

One shelter has a 2″ by 8″ ledge, approximately a 8″ high gable roof, an open front and partially open sides.

Photo of a shelter to attract barn swallows
Another has a 2″ by 6″ ledge, approximately a 6″ ceiling, an open front and partially open sides.
Photo of a shelter to attract barn and cliff swallows
If there are no open barns, sheds or eaves, mount a shelter high on the side of a barn, shed or garage. Do not mount in a tree. Make sure objects that cats and squirrels can climb do not provide access to the nest. Cats can leap 8′ horizontally! The purpose is to simulate a cliff face.

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