are swallows a protected bird

Mud, cliff or barn swallows flock to homes, buildings and structures, building their gourd- or cup-shaped mud nests with a mix of sand, grasses, hair and feathers. Swallow bird nests can be very prolific, with colonies of several hundred nests lined up vertically. Female swallows can lay as many as six eggs at a time, beginning as early as March. The eggs will hatch in 12 to 17 days.

The Swallow bird create ugly bowl-shaped nests under the overhangs and ledges of a building can create a real distraction. Businesses, especially those that serve food, can lose customers when these nests are scattered overhead and bird droppings cover floors and walkways. Fail to remove these mud nests and they will stain virtually any surface. This defacement and damage can result in costly maintenance and repairs.

For businesses that store, process, display or serve food, swallow droppings can easily contaminate these areas, especially if food is served or displayed outdoors. The bacteria, fungal agents and parasites found in swallow droppings and nests can carry such serious diseases as histoplasmosis, encephalitis, salmonella, meningitis, toxoplasmosis and more. Health inspectors can shut down a business that suffers from too many bird droppings and nests.

Another problem with swallows around any building is the dangerous slip-and-fall hazard their droppings create. Besides wet droppings, dried droppings freshened by rain, dew or sprinklers can result in a very slippery surface. Failure to address this issue can create serious legal problems should someone trip, fall and become injured.

Swallow droppings, nests and feathers can also interfere with the flow of rain in gutters, resulting in roof leaks. This debris can even block a chimney or air vent, creating a potential fire hazard and unsafe levels of carbon monoxide in the home.

As many businesses have discovered, getting rid of migratory birds like swallows can get complicated. Swallows are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, which makes it illegal to intentionally capture, kill or disrupt any migratory bird or the nests and eggs of such birds. The goal should always be proactive through humane and effective bird deterrent methods to keep these birds from nesting in the first place.

It seems that “exclusion” tactics—that is, techniques that restrict physical access to the nest site area—are the most effective way to stop nest building. If the exclusion is done prior to the arrival of the birds, during nest building when there are no eggs or young in the nest, or after the birds have left for the winter, California does not require a permit for this method, which offers a relatively permanent, long-term solution to the issue.

The “Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918” provides complete protection for all swallows and their nests through state and federal laws. Any intentional killing, injury, theft, possession, transportation, sale, or acquisition of them or their parts is prohibited. It is forbidden to purposefully destroy a swallow’s nest, eggs, or young without a permit. The law protects adult swallows that are residing in partially constructed nests or fully constructed nests devoid of eggs. Removing swallow nests that are under construction and do not contain an adult, any fresh eggs or young, or nests that are abandoned after the breeding season do not require a permit. Only the U.S. government issues permits to kill swallows or destroy swallow nests. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and only in very extreme cases. An illustration would be worries about airplane safety arising from an airport nesting colony. Permission to kill swallows is typically not granted when the birds nest on homes or other structures and cause aesthetic harm.

Asked – I’m receiving calls regarding swallows nests. Folks want them removed. Pest control serves as a legal reminder to everyone that they are protected and that removal is prohibited. It’s almost time for swallow activity again! What can our HOA do to help with this?

Swallow droppings can easily contaminate areas used by businesses for food processing, storage, serving, or display, particularly if food is served or displayed outside. Swallow droppings and nests can harbor bacteria, fungi, and parasites that can cause dangerous illnesses like toxoplasmosis, encephalitis, salmonella, meningitis, and histoplasmosis. A company that has an excessive amount of bird nests and droppings may be forced to close by health inspectors.

With a mixture of sand, grasses, hair, and feathers, mud, cliff, or barn swallows construct their gourd- or cup-shaped mud nests near houses, buildings, and other structures. The number of nests built by swallow birds can reach several hundred, arranged vertically in colonies. Swallow females begin laying eggs as early as March and can lay up to six eggs at once. The eggs will hatch in 12 to 17 days.

The ugly bowl-shaped nests that swallow birds build beneath building ledges and overhangs can be quite distracting. If there are several of these nests overhead and bird droppings are all over the floors and walkways, businesses—especially those that serve food—risk losing clients. If these mud nests are not removed, they will leave stains on almost any surface. This vandalism and damage may necessitate expensive upkeep and repairs.

Bird B Gone provides several deterrents to prevent swallow birds from perching on buildings and other structures. In case you are uncertain about the ideal product for your particular circumstance, Bird B Gone boasts a combined experience of over 80 years in the field of bird control. We can help you with product selection, installation and cleanup. For a catalog, prices, or product samples, simply give us a call at (888) 570-0360 or send us an email at com. For trained bird control experts in your area, give us a call today. We also collaborate with a network of approved installers.

In addition to obstructing the rainwater flow in gutters, swallow droppings, nests, and feathers can cause roof leaks. Even a chimney or air vent blockage from this debris could result in a fire and dangerously high carbon monoxide levels inside the house.


Why are swallows federally protected?

All swallows are included under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 as migratory insectivorous birds and as such are protected by state and federal regulations.

What happens if you knock down a swallow nest?

It is illegal to intentionally destroy the nest, eggs or young of a swallow without a permit. If an adult swallow is occupying a half-built nest, or a fully built nest without eggs, then the law protects it.

When can I take down a swallow nest?

Swallows are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 making it illegal to control an infestation on your property from February 15th to September 1st, as enforced by the California Department of Fish and Game. This time frame is recognized as breeding season for swallows.

Is it illegal to knock down a barn swallow nest in Texas?

Swallows, their nests and its contents, like most other North American birds, their nests and its contents, are protected by both state and federal laws making it illegal to harass the birds or destroy their active nests.