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Swallow Bird House: Create a Home for Your Feathered Friends

As a passionate birder, I’ve spent countless hours observing and learning about different bird species. But there’s something about swallows that always captures my attention.

These aerial acrobats are not only beautiful to watch, but they also play a critical role in controlling insect populations.

And if you’re a fellow birdwatcher looking to attract these feathered friends to your backyard, building a swallow birdhouse is a must.

In this article, I’ll share everything you need to know about creating the perfect home for these tiny birds.

From the best materials to use to step-by-step instructions on building your swallow birdhouse, you’ll have all the knowledge to make your backyard a welcoming haven for these amazing creatures.

So, let’s get started!

Swallow Bird House (2)

What is the Nest For a Swallow?

The nest for a swallow is typically a cup-shaped structure made of mud, grass, and feathers. The exact shape and location of the nest can vary depending on the species of swallow.

For example, barn swallows build their nests on man-made structures such as the eaves of barns and stables, while cliff swallows build their nests on vertical surfaces such as cliffs and bridges.

Bank swallows, on the other hand, nest in colonies dug into the sides of sandy cliffs or banks. Swallows are known for their impressive nest-building skills and can construct their nests in just a few days.

The nests are used for breeding and are typically lined with feathers to provide insulation for the eggs and chicks.

What Size is a Swallow Birdhouse?

Swallows prefer to nest in birdhouses that are specifically designed for their needs. The ideal size for a swallow birdhouse is typically around 6 inches wide, 6 inches deep, and 6-8 inches tall.

This size provides enough room for the birds to build their mud cup nests, typically about 4 inches in diameter and 1-2 inches deep.

It’s important to note that different species of swallows may have slightly different birdhouse size preferences.

For example, the purple martin, a type of swallow, prefers larger birdhouses around 7 inches wide, 12 inches deep, and 6-8 inches tall.

Additionally, the entrance hole of a swallow birdhouse should be about 1.5 inches in diameter to allow the birds to enter and exit easily while keeping out larger predators.

The location of the birdhouse is also important – it should be placed in an open area with good visibility and mounted on a pole or other sturdy structure about 10-15 feet off the ground.

Providing appropriate birdhouses for swallows can help to support their populations, as natural nesting sites such as cliffs and riverbanks are becoming increasingly scarce due to human development.

Will Swallows Use a Birdhouse?

Yes, swallows will use a birdhouse if it meets their specific needs. However, it’s important to note that not all birdhouses are suitable for swallows.

As mentioned earlier, the size and shape of the birdhouse and the size of the entrance hole are important factors to consider when providing nesting sites for swallows.

If you’re interested in attracting swallows to your yard, it’s a good idea to research the species of swallows found in your area and their nesting preferences.

For example, cliff swallows prefer to nest on vertical surfaces such as cliffs and bridges, while barn swallows prefer to nest in open structures such as barns and sheds.

Providing appropriate birdhouses for swallows can be a great way to support their populations, especially as natural nesting sites become scarcer.

By offering a suitable nesting site, you can help ensure these beautiful and beneficial birds have a safe and secure place to raise their young.

So, if you’re wondering, “Will swallows nest in a bird box?” the answer is yes, as long as the birdhouse is designed to meet their specific needs.

How Do You Make a Swallow Bird House?

Building a swallow house is a fun little DIY project that doesn’t require much woodworking skills.

You can quickly build a cozy home for your lovely feathered friends using the right tools, materials, and expert advice.

If that sounds interesting, then read on!

Things You Will Need to Build a Swallow Nesting Box

Before commencing work on this thrilling project, you must ensure all requisite materials are in order.

Gloves: Gloves are worn to protect your hands from harmful chemicals or materials you may encounter during the project. It’s important to wear gloves to prevent any skin irritation or injury.

Backing Board: A backing board is a flat surface used to support the plaster of Paris while it sets. It can be made of any sturdy material, such as wood or cardboard.

Hooks: Hooks are used to hang the finished project once it’s complete. They can be metal or plastic and come in various sizes and shapes.

Screws: Screws are used to attach the hooks to the backing board. They can be made of metal or wood and come in various lengths and sizes.

Small ball or balloon: A small ball or balloon is used to create the mold for the project. It should be small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and made of a material that won’t stick to the plaster of Paris.

Plaster of Paris: Plaster of Paris is a fine powder that, when mixed with water, creates a thick paste that hardens quickly. It creates the finished project by pouring it into the mold and allowing it to set. Once it’s dry, it can be painted or decorated as desired.

Step 1 – Mix your plaster of Paris.

  • Follow the instructions on the container to mix your plaster of Paris. The mixture should be smooth and free of lumps.
  • Wear gloves to protect your hands from any irritation or burns during the process.

Step 2 – Create the nest shape

  • Lay a generous layer of plaster on the surface of a small ball or balloon to create a cup-like shape.
  • Use your hands to shape the plaster into a nest shape, creating a depression in the center of the nest for the eggs.
  • Press two hooks into the plaster on either side of the nest before it dries. These hooks will be used to hang the nest once it’s complete.

Step 3 – Allow the plaster to dry and mount the nest

  • Allow the plaster to dry completely before removing it from the ball or balloon. This may take several hours or overnight.
  • Once the plaster is dry, mount the cup-shaped nest to a backing board using screws or nails.
  • Place the nest under an overhang or sheltered to protect it from the elements.
  • Mount the nest at least 8 feet off the ground to keep it out of reach of predators.
  • Ensure the nest is securely mounted and won’t fall or sway in the wind.

Following these steps, you can create a simple and effective nest for swallows that will provide a safe and comfortable home for these amazing birds.

Remember to place the nest in a location protected from the elements and predators, and enjoy watching as the swallows make themselves home in their new abode.

How to Build a Wooden Swallow Bird House?

Although swallows love mud houses, if you have paid closer attention, they mostly build their nests out of the mud. However, if you don’t have access to mud or plaster of Paris, then here is another method of building a cool birdhouse.

Step 1: Gather Materials

  • One piece of 1×6 pine board (8 feet long)
  • One piece of 1×8 pine board (8 feet long)
  • Table saw or circular saw
  • Miter saw, or hand saw
  • Drill
  • One 1/2-inch hole saw
  • 1/8-inch drill bit
  • Wood glue
  • One 1/4-inch wood screws
  • Sandpaper
  • Paint or stain (optional)

Step 2: Cut the Wood

  • Cut the 1×6 board into two 9-inch pieces for the sides and two 7-inch pieces for the front and back of the swallow birdhouse.
  • Cut the 1×8 board into a 9-inch piece for the roof and a 6-inch for the base.

Step 3: Create Angles

  • Cut a 45-degree angle on the top edge of each side piece. This will create a slope for the roof.
  • Cut a 45-degree angle on the bottom edge of each side piece. This will create a slope for the floor.
  • Cut a 45-degree angle on the top edge of the front and back pieces. This will allow the roof to fit snugly on top.

Step 4: Drill Holes

  • Drill a one-and-a-half-inch hole in the center of the front piece, about 1 inch from the top.
  • Drill several small holes (1/8-inch) in the bottom of the front piece to allow for drainage.

Step 5: Assemble the Box

  • Glue and screw the sides to the front and back pieces.
  • Glue and screw the base to the bottom of the sides.
  • Glue and screw the roof to the top of the sides and front and back pieces.

Step 6: Sand and Finish

  • Sand the edges and surfaces of the house to remove any rough spots.
  • Paint or stain the house if desired.

Step 7: Hang the Nest Box

  • Mount the house at least 6 feet off the ground in a sheltered location from the wind and rain.
  • Place the nest box facing east or southeast to avoid direct sunlight and give the birds a warm morning sun.

Following these steps, you can create a safe and welcoming home for swallows in your backyard. Swallows are amazing creatures that play a critical role in controlling insect populations.

By providing them with a home, you can help support their population and enjoy watching them as they raise their young.

Remember to use untreated wood to avoid harmful chemicals that could harm the birds and to wear gloves to protect your hands during the project.

With a little effort, you can create a beautiful and functional nest box for swallows that will provide enjoyment for years.

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