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Strange nest-building behavior (1 Viewer)

rbanks88

New member
Around July 1, a small bird (a swallow, I think) started flying into the deep, tunnel-like entry walk of our house and started dabbing mud onto the siding about seven feet above the floor.

It didn't work very hard at this, maybe putting a dab or two down one day, then not doing any more for 2-3 more days. I'd clean it off, and after another day or two, another dab would appear.

To discourage the mess right beside my front door, I hung flash tape around the area, strung fishing line over it, and also strung the line at five-inch intervals across the top three feet of the start of my entry way. None of this had any effect.

Isn't this late (July 25 today) in northern Colorado for a bird to be just starting a nest? And wouldn't it be in a hurry to complete the project, with fall coming in less than two months?

Finally, what can I do to stop the mud smearing?

Thanks,
Russell
 

nartreb

Speak softly and carry a long lens
Yes, it's a little late, but not very late. A pair of swallows in a hurry can build a nest, lay eggs, incubate them, and raise the young in just over a month (though it may take up to twice that time). The bird(s) may be starting a new nest after the previous one failed, is one possibility.

The slow constuction may be due to the birds being scared away by people at your front door. They can be very patient/stubborn; once started they may not stop even though the site is obviously risky.

Maybe a more realistic deterrent? A (fake) snake or cat on a platform by the nest site?

Try coating the wall with something mud-proof? Oil or soap?
 

Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
To discourage the mess right beside my front door, I ... strung fishing line over it, and also strung the line at five-inch intervals across the top three feet of the start of my entry way. None of this had any effect.

Russell

The fishing line could be a potential death trap if the bird or any other bird flies into it, they don’t easily see fishing line (it’s designed specifically to be unseen!). I would urge you to remove it asap. Perhaps you could put up a temporary willow bark screen or something but not netting, sticky tape and certainly not soap or oil which could also cause harm to the feathers (swallows/martins etc rely heavily on top notch feathers to survive) or toxic poisoning. The mud will do no harm so you could just leave it and brush it off later when it dries. It’s doubtful the nesting attempt will be successful anyway with so much disturbance by people in the vicinity.

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By the way, Welcome to Birdforum, it’s a forum for people that love wild birds so the welfare of birds will always be a very high priority here.
 
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