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Wildlife Damage Management

Barn Swallow

Barn Swallows

Barn swallows are not typically a problem in small groups, but when they roost in large numbers, their droppings may cause an unpleasant odor, contaminate water supplies, or foul foodstuffs stored in the area. The nests, which they make of mud, may also create a mess when they fall to the ground.

Swallows in Alabama are protected both federally and by the state. The state may issue a permit to remove nests when young or eggs are present, but lethal control is almost never allowed. Contact your nearest USDA Wildlife Services Office to begin the permit process for lethal control if a large flock is creating a human health concern.

Barn swallows migrate to South America for the winter and usually leave Alabama by late summer. Once they are gone, you should begin preparations at once to preclude their return next year if you do not want them around. Barn swallows return to the same spot year after year if nesting sights and adequate food supplies (flying insects) are available. Begin by removing the current nests and then try one of the exclusion tactics in the document under the "More Info" tab to keep them from roosting again next year.

When eggs or nestlings are not present, nests can be removed and exclusion devices may be installed. Shooting or trapping swallows is not allowed. Toxic repellants and frightening devices are not effective.

More Info
(from University of Callifornia
Davis Extension)