Apr 7, 2014

This is for the birds!

 Actually it's from the birds.  Barn swallows to be precise.  They have arrived and bring gifts.

Last Spring, we were excited to see that 2 pairs of Barn Swallows built nests under our front porch.  We watched as they came and went marveling at their mid air performances each night as they decimated the local insect population.   When the babies hatched, we were overjoyed to know we'd have a front row seat to watch them grow.   
It was going to be great!

Then it got real!
The poop started piling up.  I'm not talking about little piles either.  You could wash a good cup sized pile of the stuff off the porch in the morning, and by evening, it would magically return only bigger and smellier.  

In addition to copious amounts of poop, the new brood also turned the moms and dads into dive bombing lunatics, which was a big problem since these little kamikazes built right above the front door to our house.  As they saw it, people on the porch was a declaration of war, and they would defend their newly claimed territory at all costs.

Not wanting to disturb this "miracle of life" (no matter how annoying it had become) and legally unable to do so since these guys are protected around here, we surrendered.  

We used the back door and braved hosing off the porch only enough to keep the health department at bay.

After the babies flew away for good, we removed the nests and didn't give it another thought.  Until the warmer weather brought the familiar song of barn swallows back to the front porch. 

This year, we are initiating a two pronged passive aggressive attack.

1. Make the old site less attractive.
2. Provide an alternative site nearby.

From what I've read, we should really wash the old mud off and spray the area with a light food safe oil, but we haven't gotten to it yet. 

My oldest son and I build this nesting box over the weekend using this plan. We also build a second, but haven't put it up yet, and may try this plan as well. The new "nesting box" is just a few yards from the old one, but hangs over the garden side of the porch so piles of poop won't be a nuisance.   If they accept the new site, we may still have to fend off kamikaze attacks, but it'll be an improvement.  If they don't accept it, perhaps another species will move in.  
Only time will tell.

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