About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Cliff Swallow nesting under eaves

Cliff Swallow Starting a nest
Hello, I have a pair of birds trying to build a nest under my covered porch on an audio speaker placed near the ceiling. The birds are light colored on the stomach and grayish/brown on the back with a dark head and beak. They do not have the forked tail feathers of a barn swallow. The nest material I discovered yesterday was made of damp decayed leaves, moss and mud.

The pool/porch area is quite busy this time of year and is not where we want birds eating, nesting, pooping, or swooping on the family. Can you help with the identification and offer any suggestions to deter them from nesting under the porch roof. Your opinion and assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Cliff Swallows have a chestnut-brown throat, blue/gray back and crown, brown wings and tail. Their nape, forehead and belly are white and their tail is square-ended. They breed across most of US including Michigan from May until mid-September.

Cliff swallows build their nests in areas where water is readily available because they eat a ton of bugs. Their nests are gourd-shaped and mud-like in appearance and usually consist of sand, silt and clay. They can be found commonly under the eaves of houses or under many large and medium sized bridges.

A way to live with a nest might be to erect a platform above your speaker to keep the droppings from falling onto your porch. After nesting season is over, you can remove the board and wash your porch.

A way to deter the birds is to hang helium-filled shiny, silver, mylar balloons in the area. This usually scares the birds away.

Another possibility to discourage them would be to stretch a clean white plastic sheet over the speaker so there is no place for them to get a grip for nesting.

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