This past summer was my first in my new home so I’m slowly learning about the birds in my new neighborhood. One evening when I was coming in the front door after taking the dog out, I looked up and saw two little birds with long tail feathers sitting on the ledge above my door. I raced inside, grabbed the camera and came back out to snap some photos of these little cuties thinking about future paintings. They were so cute until they weren’t! And Wow! Did the cuteness ever wear off! I soon found out what determined little guys these were. And my front door was the object of their determination! My heart was torn about what to do once the mud splatters began.
My neighborhood is very small and has a little pond out back behind all the houses, the pond being the apparent attraction. When I stepped outside in the morning to see what kind of birds these were, I found my neighbors out with brooms in hand shooing them away. A swarm of the little fellows were zooming around all over the neighborhood trying to nest over all the front doors. Once I heard about what damage they can do, I realized I would have to move them on too before they had a chance to settle in. The back door would have been so much more appropriate but they weren’t having it! It was the front door or nothing! Neighbors got together to plan out strategy as none of us wanted them to leave the neighborhood, we just didn’t want them over the front door.
Their sweet singing was so beautiful, it wrung my heart. Bird Songs.net has a beautiful recording of their singing. I went looking for more info on these little guys and found it at All About Birds. They really are quite helpful at keeping down insect populations which are heavy around where I live. According to legend, they can even help tell the weather. In a story in The Guardian there is a quote, “When Swallows fly high, the weather is dry.” I really want to keep these cuties around but can’t have the mud and debris all over the front door. The broom shooing was not working so research was needed. There was no question that the only remedy must be one to keep them around just not over the front door. My next door neighbor was also researching.
The first remedy we heard about was the plastic owl hanging near the door. I can tell you first hand not to bother with this one. These are smart little birds we’re talking about. They just started building a nest on top of the owl! When I opened the door one evening to find one foot away was a swallow hovering in mid air in front of my face daring me to step out! Another time one flew in the house and began to make itself at home on a ledge over the fireplace. By turning out the lights we were able to get that one out without much fuss. We finally, after much trial and error, found the solution was to cover the front porch entry with a plastic shower curtain until the birds found another space to build. We also found shaving foam across the top of the door frame helped deter as well. Before next year, I have decided to install a pre-made nest in a safe space in hopes they will come back but settle in a safer location near enough to enjoy their sweet song but not the mud splatters every where!
For a while, they sat on the gutter of my neighbor’s roof and let us have it about their displeasure. Never have I seen such an ability to stare with the evil eye in a bird. They were so mad at us!! One neighbor did leave them to nest thinking they would move on after the babies flew. They did but so did his ruined porch furniture. Next year, I hope to be ready for them with acceptable housing! Since legend says they are good luck I want them to stay around. And I will try not to give them a reason to fix the evil eye on me or chatter their anger at the neighborhood!