Juvenile Swallows in nest

Attracting swallows to nest

Swallows prefer outbuildings which provide dark ledges and nooks and crannies for nesting.

Encouraging nesting

Swallows prefer outbuildings which provide dark ledges and nooks and crannies for nesting. These are cosy in cold weather and cool when it is hot. Swallows can enter a building through a very small hole and need very little light. Brightly lit nest sites are most at risk from predators.

To help them to nest in a garage or outhouse:

  • Make a small opening, minimum 50 mm high and 200 mm wide, under the garage or barn eaves or leave a window or door open.
  • Fix a nest platform where you would like them to nest, high in the building, out of the reach of cats.
  • Make a platform from four flat pieces of wood, or by fixing a sawdust and cement or papier-mache cup to a wooden backing plate.
  • Put a plastic bag below the nest to catch droppings.
  • Block off sites where you don't want the birds to nest. You can do this by attaching polythene to a beam, then to the roof and back to the beam again.

If the weather becomes very hot, place an old carpet or blanket on the outside of the roof above the nest and soak with water regularly. Just a couple of buckets of bathwater on such fabric will take several hours to dry and helps keep the temperature down inside.