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Oddly Located Barn Swallow Nest


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#1 cwj2323

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 02:45 PM

Every year, the Barn Swallows attempt a nest on our front porch. Usually above the front door and they've never succeeded, most often abandoning during the building process. We were out of town this weekend, so they had a lot of quiet time and were completing it as we got home Sunday.

As of this morning, I saw a Swallow sit on the nest. We have found a location inside where we can see a portion of the nest from off to the side of our big picture window. We have been very cautious of the activity at the window in case the motion upsets them. Also, we are staying out of the front yard as much as possible, but for checking mail, filling/cleaning bird baths and dealing with a hummingbird feeder, etc. We cannot stay out of it completely. Minimizing our activity has seemed to help. The front porch is now totally off limits. I'd like to cord off the area for any people who may visit.

This is a picture from last week. If I stay by the driveway, I can get a picture without disrupting them. We have been enjoying the nest building and hope to witness a successful brood.
Posted Image

My question is this, I was thinking if the babies hatch, can we relax a little about this, thinking they will not abandon their little ones? Or should we become even more diligent as to not stress the birds? How long does it take for a Barn Swallow to get from laying eggs to when they leave the nest? I am glad it is the front yard. I am always nervous about letting our dog out back and check the ground for fledglings in his area.

Thank you for any help.

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#2 meghann

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 06:03 PM

According to Wiki, incubation is 2-3 weeks, and they fledge about 3 weeks later.

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#3 creeker

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 07:46 AM

Birds building a nest have little commitment to it. After they lay eggs, there is a little more commitment. After the eggs hatch, even more commitment. I think by the time there are little nestlings in there, you won't have to walk on eggshells around them anymore. :)
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#4 cwj2323

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 01:59 PM

Thank you so much for responding. both of you. That makes so much sense Creeker. I hope we can get to this point.

I had to deal with some scolding Barn Swallows (and other mad birds who are still upset) because our feeders and baths just had to be cleaned. We found a couple ill birds. Some feeders could be brought in, but not anything bolted down. I have to decide if we should even fill them again for awhile. But that's another issue.

Our feeders are on the north side of the house not really in sight of the Swallow nest, but we had to get to the water closer to the porch. Now that we are in for awhile, hopefully all will be well.

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#5 cwj2323

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 11:35 PM

So far, so good. One or both come back periodically and they make a lot of noise as they arrive. I wonder when they will get all the eggs laid. This evening a storm is predicted, but it's coming from the west. The porch faces east.

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#6 foghorn

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 01:46 PM

Thought this might be a good place to introduce myself, been visiting this site many times in last year or so, so this will be my first post, greetings to all. I have been around barn swallows alot when I was a young living on a farm in central Nebraska.
They had their nest just a few feet over our heads in the (8ft)ceiling of our milking parlor room and would come & go while
we milked,
They were a bit skittish in the spring when they first arrived but after awhile never paid us much attention & would stay in the nest and watch us as we milked..They won't abandon the nest very easily after building it. I don't think you need to cord any thing off, or change much, just don't stand directly under the nest for very long as that will make them nervous. My dad always told us they were "God's birds" and to leave them alone, worked for us..

#7 cwj2323

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 07:18 PM

Welcome to Whatbird foghorn. I am from Nebraska, too, but grew up in the city. I was sharing with a friend about our Barn Swallows and she shared the same story you did about having them in the milking area of the barn when she grew up.

They seem pretty secure now. It's been interesting watching them trade off and one likes our clothes line as a perch. We see they will chase off other birds from that clothes line and also off the front porch. I did learn somewhere the young can get spooked by loud noises and hop out of the nest. We do not get much traffic, but today was loud with the crop sprayers driving by. Our house is not far off from the road.

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#8 cwj2323

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 07:50 PM

The eggs have hatched! YAY!

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#9 cwj2323

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 02:56 PM

If by chance any of the babies startle out of the nest, what would be the best thing to do? Go ahead and put them back? We won't do anything we believe would startle them, but there is the occasional truck that roars by.

I was not happy! A meat salesman came to the front door! And because we were not at the door within a millisecond of his first knock, he starts rapping on the front window. No way to gain any type of sale from us. I think our Barn Swallows need to act a little more territorial. The adult fled the nest but came back shortly after the intruder drove off.

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#10 creeker

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 04:21 AM

If by any chance the babies did flop out of the nest (wouldn't happen until they were older) you could simply place them back in by hand.
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#11 cwj2323

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 02:30 PM

I think there are three in the nest, but one of the children said they saw four.
This is one when it was three days old.
Posted Image

I have more recent pictures, but they're not on the computer yet. It's been nice seeing the activity from inside the house, but the pictures are not great at this angle. The camera doesn't know what to focus on with the nest, glass and bird tape.

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#12 cwj2323

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 02:34 PM

While trying to find out more info about Barn Swallows, I did run into this site. http://www.americana...smma/per/b4.htm

I want to try and do some of his suggestions for next year, like putting dividers up in our shed and setting bowls of mud out for them. I am pondering if I wish to put up dividers or something for the front porch.

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#13 cwj2323

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 09:19 PM

Here they are, all four of them! They're just wilting in this heat.
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#14 creeker

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 06:29 PM

Love the new avatar!
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#15 cwj2323

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 12:57 AM

Posted Image

Two of the little ones took a tumble. They were moving around the front porch. I was able to get them back in the nest, though I was afraid of hurting a leg or a wing. I was glad they didn't put up a struggle. One chirped a little. The nest is tight quarters already.

We'll be having two more days of heat before it goes back down to normal temps. I wondered if they were moving around to cool off. I talked to a rehabber and she said there is not really anything we can safely do.

Thank you, Creeker, about the avatar. I thought it was time for a change and really liked this picture.

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#16 creeker

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 05:34 AM

Hope they didn't get hurt from the impact with the porch!
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#17 cwj2323

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 04:12 PM

We put two old pillows under the nest, so we were hoping they made the first bounce on that and rolled off. The birds look so terribly hot today; it's already 92.

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#18 threeofhardts

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Posted 07 July 2012 - 01:37 AM

Poor little things. So glad you were there to get them back into their nest.

This heat is really taking its toll on humans and critters alike. Can't wait for the cool-down.

I'd rather be birding.


#19 cwj2323

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 01:59 PM

There ended up being five babies, but we lost one. Based on the number of times it fell out of the nest, I have to wonder if it wasn't pushed out by siblings or parents. Maybe there was something wrong with it as it looked a bit smaller than the others. The rest all fledged on day 18 which was Wednesday. Two must have left early in the morning as when I went out I only saw two then. Those fledged while we were away.

Because of all the bird mites, my husband removed the nest last night, much to the chagrin of the adults. He said he doesn't want another nest on the house, so I am hoping we can do something in the shed to allow for more swallow nesting in there. The link I posted above gave some ideas. Even with the mites, I sure enjoyed having them around. I ordered "Green Bug" to deal with any future issues, and if we want Purple Martins, we have to find safe ways to deal with the little ickies.

I did create an album and still have a few pictures to add to it.
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