Barn Swallows

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    Bobs Farm

      I walked out of my door a few days ago and to my suprise I had a pair of Barn Swallows buzzing my head. As I turned around I observed the tattletale sign of the Barn Swallow mud nest. The pair has built it under my carport on top of my exit light by the door. This should be exciting since I’ve never seen a Barn Swallows nest.

      On a side note I’ve had a lot of BB activity in my yard for the last week. They have been catching bugs and stopping for a bath a drinks at my bird bath. Occasionally I’ll see there little ones around. I am a bit curious on why they were not interested in any of my three nest boxes this year? Placement maybe, or just found a better place to stay, I’m not sure. I’m in southern Missouri so I am unfamiliar if the nesting period for BB’s is about done or wether I still might get lucky. This is my first year attempting to attract new birds since I moved from the city to the country earlier this spring. Anyone from this area or familiar with the habits of BB in the central region of the US would be greatful.

      Thank you,


      Carol – Mid-Mo.

        Bob, I live in west central Missouri, and I believe you could have a nesting of blues yet. In looking back at my records of 8 previous seasons, I have had a few nestings in late June & early July on occasion. It is getting a little late, but my first successful hatching of blues just fledged on this past Tuesday, so I am keeping my fingers crossed for another nest. But they have to get this batch of young ones trained yet and that could take another week or two. I will know in a few days if they are interested in building again. Bob luck – if you are seeing blues, you really need to figure out why they are not coming there. Tell us a little about your box locations. P.S. Aren’t those barn swallows a pain & messy when they like to build right outside your door, etc.

        Bobs Farm

          Haha yes they are, mud and grass every where.

          I currently live on 90 acres. That being said an acre of it is fenced off three side of ky house. The front yard being the biggest area with two huge trees spread about 50 feet apart. I’m surrounded by cow fields on three sides (with the fence) that has waist high grass in them. Across the street is a hat field also about waist high. The neighbor across the street keeps the ditch line mowed nicely and that’s where I see a lot of my blue activity. They setup on the power line in the front yard and hunt from there. I currently have three nest boxes up all three from wild birds unlimited 1 wood and the other 2 that indestructible plastic. So real nice boxes. They are placed in metal polls (the poll set from wild birds unlimited) with a baffle. My house faces south which is where the road runs east/west in front of it. I have two houses setup on the west side of my house facing southeast. One is in the front yard approximately 7 feet from the barbwire fence. It’s the closest one to where the BB’s feed. The other one is approximately 300 feet away toward the back of my house also 7 feet from the fence facing southeast. The third is on the opposite side of the house facing west in the front yard area. There all baffled and face open space. The road I live on is a country road and doesn’t recieved much traffic at all.

          I hope that gives you some what of a clear picture. Let me know if you have any questions. Thank you for the assistance.

          Carol – Mid-Mo.

            Sounds like you have a good set up of houses – however, I would question the one house which you have facing west, as this is facing the hot sun in the summertime. Might be okay for the 1st nesting. I believe your boxes facing southeast are much better – here in Mid-Missouri I believe SE is away from prevailing winds, which is what is recommended – mine are all facing SE. I have had no experience with anything other than wooden boxes (cedar, which have lasted 8+ years & still going) – this “indestructible plastic” box you have – does it not get terribly hot? If you have your boxes up early (January of February) I bet those blues will be scouting them next season. Good luck.


            Bob your houses sound good and should attract the bluebirds. I do agree that the west facing one should be turned to the SE if possible. How close are the nestboxes to trees or shrubs that might be protected resting spots for the young as they fledge? 50 – 60 ft would be good. Not too close for predators to jump to the nestbox and a protected spot where the parent birds can keep an eye on the box while they are off the nest.

            Stafford, VA

            Rich K

              I have a Troyer box (slot entrance) that was facing due East. I turned it to face North and literally 2 days later a pair began showing interest. Momma has almost finished building the nest and I expect the first egg any day now.

              Carol – Mid-Mo.

                Good point, David, about having the necessary “landing spot” for fledging babies. Tree or shrub or something not too far away from nest is needed – 50-60 feet is good. And Rich, facing boxes away from prevailing winds will definitely depend on your geographic location. Here in the mid-West we get cold North winds during the first nesting season (March-May), so we would never turn the box facing directly north, at least the first nesting – but it might work in a different locale. And I believe angling it two different directions is good, also.


                  The only thing I have to add is 7 feet is too close to the fence. The distance really should be 15 feet because predators like cats and raccoons can jump.

                  Atlanta, GA

                  Bobs Farm

                    Thank you for the feed back. Yes all three boxes have threes with that distance. I’ll turn the west facing box SE and see what I get. Still have the fingers cross for a late nesting.

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