Category Archives: Swallows

Anything to do with swallows (martins)

Birds Nest in the Garage

When you have a six-year old daughter, getting rid of the birds nest in your garage is far from easy. Instead of just swatting it down and chasing its owner away like you would normally do, you’re asked to “not hurt the babies” and, “give me the nest I’ll be the mom”. Neither of which are on your mind at the time, or at least they weren’t on mine when my daughter Vanessa and I discovered the Swallows that had been crafting themselves a home in the rafters of my garage. She was ecstatic to see the nest since they had a lesson on birds in her Kindergarten class just days before, and desperately wanted me to take a picture for her. Since she’s my one and only little girl, I obliged and pulled out the ladder so I could get a closer image. Big mistake. Instead of just finding some feathers, twigs, and grass like I expected, I found six tiny white eggs decorated with small red dots, and one had the beginning of a crack going right down the side.
Climbing down, I hesitantly showed Ness the picture I had taken, I had done my best to zoom out so she might not recognize what the little white spots were, but she knew right off. She ran from the garage quicker than a fox, her little legs pumping furiously. Once I realized where she was going, I chased after her. If her mom found out about the little birds living in the garage just waiting to hatch, I would have seven kids instead of one. Luck wasn’t on my side however, my wife just happened to pick that day to sit outside and weed her garden, I had no chance of getting that picture back from Vanessa in time.
Sure enough, once the word was out about the birds nest in the garage, there was no getting rid of it. Instead I was ordered to regularly check on the nest to make sure that the parents hadn’t abandoned it and to see if any new progress had been made on the hatching. Soon enough there were five ugly, pink birds (one didn’t make it I guess) wailing for their mother, and she came. As the birds grew so did Vanessa’s interest in them, she loved to climb up and see them as they grew into bigger, stronger birds and when they left the nest, she cried for hours. As heartbroken as I was to see her so upset, I did a little rejoicing. No babies in the nest meant I was good to go on getting the thing out of there. All I can say is the next time there’s a birds nest in the garage, it’ll be gone before ANYONE knows about it.

Swallows on the House

I know it’s an irrational fear, but I’m very much afraid of the swallows on our house.  Some people are afraid of heights, some people are afraid of water.  I am afraid of birds.  They call it ornithophobia, and apparently it’s pretty common.  Some people are terrified of large birds of prey, but I can’t stand any bird whatsoever, large or small.  I don’t overreact, for the most part.  When I have a run-in with a bird, I freeze, get the sweats, and then, depending on the situation, I might run away screaming like a fourth-grade-girl chased by a boy with cooties.  Like I said, I don’t normally overreact.


We have a skylight in our second floor, which I’ve absolutely loved.  I was lying on the couch underneath it, staring up at the sky, trying to think through a problem at work.  That’s when I heard it.  It was a small sound at first, but enough to jolt me out of my brainstorming.  Something alive was restlessly stirring around over my head.  Then, something brown, with pointy wings, flew over the skylight, directly above me, joining whatever creature already occupied my roof.  Some part of me detached from my knee-jerk fear reaction, and the rational part of my brain analyzed what I had just witnessed, causing me to realize there were swallows on my house.  The irrational part of my brain wanted me to throw things at the ceiling to scare them away, and then hide in a fetal position in a closet until the disgusting things were gone.  I’m a grown man.  I rejected the desire to flee to the dark protection of the nearest closet.  Instead, I ran out of the room calling for my wife.  I thought I used a very normal tone of rational voice to call her name.  She says I squeaked and croaked something unintelligible.  Whatever I said, and however I said it, she did come running right away.


I somehow managed to communicate the reason for my flight, and she walked in the room to investigate.  Sure enough, we had two swallows on the house, and it looked like they were building a nest.  My loving and supporting wife laughingly suggested I climb onto the roof to take a look for myself.  In response, I looked up the contact information for Allstate Animal Control and made an appointment for someone to come and take a look for me.  For the first time since spotting the revolting things, I was relieved.  Someone was going to remove the swallows from my house.


It might be a while before I can relax under my skylight again, though.  I won’t even try to analyze why I’m so afraid of birds, but one thing’s for sure.  I refuse to allow any bird, including swallows, on my house.



Swallow Control

swallow removal

I have got to get some swallow control out here fast.  My home’s pretty new, just about 4 years old.  I did a lot of the work on the home myself, and was my own general contractor on the things I couldn’t or didn’t want to do, like the framing, concrete pouring, etc.  The point is, I’ve been involved with building my home from the beginning.  After it was built, I dove into landscaping and have put a lot of sweat, blood and sometimes bad words into long weekends devoted to making my house look beautiful.

And now, despite all my hard work, I need swallow control.  These swallows aren’t as awful from a distance.  I actually love to watch birds, and these birds are interesting.  Swooping, diving, keeping the mosquito population down and singing.  But, no matter how interesting they are to watch from a distance, I can not stand it when they try to build their mud nests around my house.  I keep trying to hose the mud down before they get very far on their nest-building, and I thought it would discourage them.  I really thought they’d move on to another area or at least find a more natural habitat.  But, no, they just try building on a different spot on my home.

First, it was directly on the stucco right above my front door.  After I sprayed that, they started building behind the light sensor.  I knocked down the mud drops that were the beginning of that nest, only to have them select an area out of my reach and out of the reach of my hose.  Now, they’re almost done building their mud nest on the stucco directly underneath the eaves at the very top of my home.  I’m at my wit’s end, and need professional swallow control help.

It wouldn’t be so bad, if it was just that sticky and then cement-like mud they make to build their nests.  That’s bad enough, because it never really comes off completely unless I get up there and physically scrub it off with a wire brush.  No, the reason I need professional swallow control is because they are pooping everywhere.  They land on the gutters, window sills, stone edges, patio.  And, everywhere they sit, they poop.

It’s disgusting dealing with the mud drops, mud nests and swallow droppings, and I just have had it.  I would rather be spending my time putting in the stone walkway I’ve designed, or building the gazebo I want.  Instead, I’m wasting my limited time trying to do swallow control myself, and I’m done.  I’ve spent too much time, too much money, and too much effort making my home look great just to have it all messed up by a bunch of free-loading swallows.  Enough is enough.

Get Rid of Swallows

swallow removal

I’m just a sweet, old tabby cat who wants to take naps in the soft grass in the backyard instead of worrying about how to get rid of swallows.

There is a spot in the backyard that is a little spot of cat heaven.  It has been my spot and mine only for the last three summers.  The grass is soft, and wonderfully fragrant right after a good mow, the sun hits it just right in the morning, so it’s warm on my belly, but not too warm.  It’s right in between the house, where I have food and water, and the grouping of trees with its luscious and plentiful squirrels and birds.  I can chase them, if I want to, but as the years go by, I prefer to think about the chase as their chitters and chirps invade my cat dreams in the sun.

But, this year is different.  This year, my perfect napping spot is tainted by the presence of swooping, angry mud swallows.  At first, I enjoyed watching them as they flew between the small nearby pond and the house, tiny bits of mud in their beaks.  They would daub the mud up onto the house itself, right under the eaves, building up a nest.  I didn’t think much of it, although occasionally I would gather up enough strength to rise and swat at them as they flew overhead, especially after a little glob of mud rained down on my nose.

Now the nest is built, and I thought it would mean the end of the incessant flying back and forth and back and forth.  Little did I know it was about to become worse.  Now, my thoughts are on how to get rid of swallows instead of dreaming of chasing squirrels and deciding whether to go inside and eat or stay and sleep.

The eggs have hatched, and the tiny baby birds are amazingly noisy, keeping me from fully falling into my cat dreams.  To make matters worse, the two adult swallows now see me as a threat, and actually try to chase me out of my perfect cat-napping spot.  They swoop down on me, daring to get close enough that I think I’m going to get a beak in the neck if I’m not careful.  I have to watch the two of them at once, attacking and swirling around me.  I leap, and twist and bat at them with my powerful cat claws, but they circle around too fast and avoid my half-hearted attacks.

One of these days, I’ll figure out how to actually get rid of swallows.  Swallows come back year after year after year, and I just don’t want to deal with the constant chirping and dizzy swooping.  Sigh.  Maybe I’ll just look for a new perfect napping spot.

Swallow Removal

“My job is to sell cars, not remove swallows,” I protested.  I’d only been working at this used car dealership for three weeks, but I’d already had this conversation with my boss several times.  She looked annoyed at me, which was dangerous, because I really needed this job.  Already it was paying better than my last job, and I’d been able to pay off a credit card bill down to a zero balance, so I wanted to keep it.  I was really good at it, too, and I knew my boss was as happy as I was with my success.  She was also tired of having this conversation with me.

“How do you expect to sell cars when there is a swallows nest in the undercarriage?  Or when it’s all covered in bird droppings?”  She sighed.  She was excellent at her job, too.  I just found out she’d been here less than a year, but she’d pretty much saved the car lot from going under.  She’d hired better salesmen, got a great working relationship with a local bank that offered good rates to our customers, and improved the look of the place to attract more business.  It had paid off and the place was making more money than it ever had.

But, over the last few weeks, she found out she had a swallow removal problem.  Swallows descended on the car lot, for some reason.  They made little mud nests in every nook and cranny they could find.  Mud nests were tucked up under the eaves of the main building.  We’d found swallow nests in wheel wells, car undercarriages, and in the rafters of the garage we used to detail the cars.  Swallows return year after year to their roost, and the previous manager hadn’t done anything about it, so we now had a booming swallow population on site.

Under new management, swallow removal was added to every employee’s job description.  And, I was getting tired of it.  I wanted to get to work, dressed nicely and ready to sell cars.  Instead, I had to help hose down half-built nests.  I’d carry special cloths to wipe swallow poop off a car that I wanted to show a client, and then I’d feel filthy until I was able to get back inside and sanitize my hand.  Sales meetings focused on swallow removal techniques instead of the best sales methods.   We’d tossed around ideas ranging from covering the entire lot in bird wire to installing a sonic bird repellant device.  A co-worker half-jokingly suggested getting a falcon or two to get rid of the swallows.

I knew this was a real sticking point with my boss, and it was for all of us, too.  She didn’t want to sink a lot of money into a scheme that might not work, and I think she was hoping the problem would just go away soon.  I handed her the phone number of a swallow removal service, and she finally conceded that it would cost her a lot less money to get professionals out here to get rid of the swallows.  Maybe, just maybe, we won’t have to go through this again next year.

Swallow Problems

When I took this job as property manager for an assisted living center, I was told that I’d probably have to deal with “a little” swallow problem.  Yeah, right.  I guess it was a little problem with swallows a few years ago, but none of my predecessors did anything about it, so now I’m stuck with a huge amount of barn swallows dipping and swooping.  At least they keep the mosquito population down, but I don’t feel as if it’s worth it.

Our property is close to a city park, and this time of year there’s a big mud hole in one portion of the park.  The swallows carry the mud, beak-full by beak-full, and use the mud pellets to build their nests right under the eaves and up against the stucco.  Of course, that means I’m constantly cleaning up mud pellets off of the sides of the buildings and off the sidewalks.  I try to catch every nest, and my crew is out there nearly every day power-washing the mud pellets off of walls instead of taking care of other maintenance jobs.

I have a ton of phone calls from some of the nature-loving residents who are mad that we are trying to keep the swallows from building there, and other residents who are mad that we haven’t been successful at getting rid of the swallow problem entirely.  While I sympathize with the residents who enjoy watching the birds flying around outside their window, I have to think of their health and safety first.

The mud and swallow droppings that accumulate on sidewalks and doorsteps are a serious hazard.  Residents, employees and guests can easily slip and fall.  The risk of falling is bad, but more people complain of swallow droppings staining their cars, dropping on their heads or shirts.  An unexpected “swallow bomb” is no fun when it’s in your hair, on the side of your face, or staining your shirt.

Once baby birds have hatched, the swallow problem gets even worse.  Not only do you have more birds staining the sides of the building, walkways and doorways, but the adult swallows get aggressive.  In an effort to protect their nests, they dive and attack anyone who walks nearby.  We had one resident who was actually hit in the head by a swallow, lost his balance and was injured.

And then, there are the bugs.  Little swallow bugs that bite like fleas.  They get inside the buildings, hide behind wall art, in beds, in outlets.  Even the nature-loving residents, who root for the swallows to finish building their nests before my power-washers hit them, are much less enthusiastic when confronted with bugs in their beds.  We’re struggling with insect extermination as well as trying to remove the swallow problem.

Of course, as swallows are federally protected, I have to be very careful we’re not breaking any laws in our seemingly fruitless war against the birds.  At certain times of the year, the problem with swallows takes priority over everything else, and the other demands of my job are left incomplete.  It has become too costly in time, manpower and funds to handle this problem alone.  I have finally decided it is so much more worth it to get a professional wildlife removal service out here to take care of the problem, so I can get on with the business of managing this property correctly.

Swallow Trapping

SMAT!  “Oh, man, you gotta be kidding me!”  A small drop of mud spattered across Mark’s shirt as he walked in the door.  It had a tiny twig stuck in it.  “Time to call for swallow trapping, my friend!” he called to Art, the man behind the lunch counter.

“What’re you whining about, now?” laughed Art, “A silly little bird building an innocent little nest?  Yeah, we don’t want to dirty up your pristine clothes!” It was true, Mark painted houses for a living, and was already covered in drywall dust, dried primer and paint of several shades.  You could barely tell where the swallow had dropped the mudball on him, mud that was intended for making its nest right above the door of the tiny diner.  “You want the usual?” Art asked, and disappeared into the back, not even bothering to wait for Mark’s answer.

Mark grabbed up a napkin and wiped at the mess on his chest, as he sat down at the counter.  Soon, he was chewing on a turkey sandwich with a side of Art’s famous greasy fries.  He didn’t have much time to eat, because he had a big job to get done by the end of the day, but he always had time for lunch at Art’s diner.  Around a mouthful of fries, he told his friend, “I’m serious.  You’ve got to trap the swallows or get rid of them somehow.”

“Oh, come on.  You know I don’t have time.  I’ve got a busy diner to run and . . .“

“I’m telling you, I’ve seen it a lot with these houses I paint.  Swallows will stick their mud nests everywhere, and the mud and their bird crap stains the walls or the concrete.  Those suckers will come back year after year, too, if you don’t do something about it now.”

“I’m not sure you can knock the nests down, though,” Mark’s counter-neighbor offered.  “I think they’re protected, aren’t they?”

“Maybe,” said Mark.  “I don’t know what the law says about that.  Just know they’re a darned nuisance.  Pain to clean up after, too.”

“Sure are a nuisance,” said Art.  “They dive-bombed my wife when she opened this morning.  Maybe I should call someone?  ‘Cause I sure don’t have the time to deal with ‘em.”

“I think you definitely should get someone out here for swallow trapping,” Mark said.  “Ever hear of swallow bugs?  Those bugs just drop right off the bird and infest a place.”

Art looked around his diner and shuddered.  The guy next to Mark turned a little green and put down his sandwich.  Mark said quickly, “Oh, I don’t think they hurt humans, but you don’t want them around the place, do you?”  Art had his wife call for a professional swallow trapper that afternoon, just to be on the safe side.

Get Rid of Swallows

get rid of swallows
            We’d been trying to get rid of swallows over the last couple of weeks.  They were trying to build their nest right above our front door, and the mess was terrible.  Bird droppings and bits of mud just littered our door step.  So, we’d knock it down before they finished building the nest and sweep it away, just to have them come right back and start again the next day.  It was irritating, but we just had to be vigilant and get rid of the swallows’ nest every day before they finished.

            Then one day, I went into my laundry room to transfer the clothes from the washing machine to the dryer, and I was startled by hearing this rustling sound.  I have no pets or children, so the sound was unnerving.  Again, this scratching, scrabbling sound, a rustle, and then quiet.  Just gave me the creeps, especially since I was alone in the house, but I had to find out what was making that noise.

            I listened again, and figured out the sound was coming from behind the dryer.  I grabbed a broom, but really had no idea what I would do when I came face to face with whatever was making that noise.  I took a deep breath, wondering if I should wait until my husband came home.  “No, I’m a big girl and can handle this, whatever this is,” I told myself.  Crawling around the dryer, I squished myself into the small space between the wall and the appliance, scared something would come running out at me.

            But, nothing did.  And then I saw the strangest thing.  The dryer vent jumped.  I cracked my head on the shelf overhanging the dryer in my shock, and then composed myself again.  At least whatever it was, it was contained within the dryer vent.  Oh, crap!  It jumped again! 

            Okay, enough was enough.  I tossed the broom out of the room, and prepared to grab the dryer vent out of the wall and the dryer simultaneously.  Whatever it was, it was going to have to leave, and now.  Counting to three . . . then to five . . . then to ten, I finally jerked the vent hose free of both connections and held the ends together, the silvery hose forming a circle.  The bottom of the circle jumped and bounced, hitting my shins, but I kept the ends firmly together and marched out of that laundry room, up the stairs, and, realized I needed at least one hand to open the front door.  I maneuvered an elbow to undo the deadbolt, and then, with my two pinky fingers, managed somehow to open the door. 

            I took two steps out onto the porch and threw the entire silvery hose out into the front lawn, watching in suspense to see what would come out.  To my surprise, two swallows flew out of the hose and up into the tree, angry and terrified.  I hadn’t expected birds, and I didn’t expect them to be the very same birds trying to build a nest on our front porch.  Well, I was determined to get rid of swallows one way or another, and I guess they were just as determined to use my house, one way or another.

Swallow Removal

swallow removal
“Hey there, Lila, you call for swallow removal, yet?”  Emily asked her neighbor.

            “What do you mean?  Why would we want those pretty little birds removed?”  Lila was a pretty brunette who loved animals a little too much, in Emily’s opinion.  Emily liked her home pristine and cats, dogs, birds and turtles were just mess-makers in her opinion.  Lila, however, liked the company and noise of her animals, and obviously enjoyed watching wild creatures, too. 

            “What?  You don’t want to get rid of them?” Emily asked, incredulous. 

            “Why on earth would I do that?  I just love to watch little Miss Flighty build her nest.  She’s so pretty.”

            Inside, Emily groaned.  Lila had actually named the little bird, and it wasn’t even a clever name.  She probably had picked out names for all the babies in eggs that hadn’t even been laid yet. 

            “Well, I guess you don’t mind the mess she’s making on your front porch,” Emily said, as nicely as she could.  The little bird was building her mud nest, bit by bit, on the stucco overhang right over the front porch.  The porch itself was slowly accumulating a pile of mud and bird droppings.  Emily knew it was going to stain the concrete, but she also knew Lila probably didn’t care one way or the other about her front porch.

            Lila, however, was enjoying watching the little bird from her window.  She loved noting the daily progress of nest-making.  Swallow removal hadn’t even crossed her mind.  She was an avid bird-watcher, and had put up several bird feeders in her back yard.  This was a real treat for her.

            Emily tried again.  “I sure hope no one slips on the bird droppings and falls.  They could sue.”  Emily wasn’t really known for her tact. 

            That got Lila to thinking.  She’d been cited before by the city for having too many pets than were allowed, and didn’t like to think what would happen if she were sued by someone.  But, still, these were beautiful wild creatures and she loved watching nature take its course.  She said as much to Emily.

            Emily nodded, and said she figured the joy of bird-watching probably outweighed the likelihood of legal action.  But, then, she brought up something that Lila hadn’t known.  Swallow bugs. 

            “Swallow bugs?”  Lila asked.

            “Oh, yes, they’re blood suckers and they live on the birds.  Of course, they sometimes drop off and infest wherever the birds are living.  They’re like fleas and will attack cats or dogs or . . .”

            Lila called for swallow removal the moment Emily left.