Cliff swallows will soon be returning to the Yukon to nest.
They nest under bridges and on walls of buildings just under the roof overhang. When you travel the highways, you will see cliff swallows near the bridges, sometimes huge clouds of them. Many of us enjoy seeing the swallows nest on our houses as the adults fly in and out to feed their young. We also know that they eat amazing amounts of flying insects Ã making them an all-natural mosquito control program.
There are various reasons why people do not want the swallows on the walls of their buildings: They carry mud for their nests and may drop some of it, along with their own droppings, occasionally at inconvenient locations.
So how does one deter swallows from nesting on their house?
It is not very nice to destroy their nests once they have been built. It is also illegal to destroy their nests (according to the Migratory Birds Convention Act between Canada and the USA).
Measures to keep the swallows from nesting on buildings must be done before the nesting season, in other words, right now.
Here are some ways of keeping swallows from making nests on buildings:
Â¥ Hang strips of plastic (eg. cut up black plastic bags) from the roof overhang just in front of the location where the swallows might be trying to build nests.
Â¥ Put up a more permanent barrier made from plastic sheeting, vinyl strips or fine-mesh wire.
Â¥ Finally, if you miss getting your swallow barriers in place for this year and the swallows do nest on your building, then just enjoy the show and wait for the young to hatch and depart. Then clean up any mess and put up the barrier for next year.
Helmut Grunberg, president
Yukon Bird Club