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Barn Swallows

We have barn swallows that build their mud nest under the docks. The last couple of years, the crows have gone under the docks and ripped the nests down to get either the eggs or baby swallows. Is there any type of box that we could place under the docks that these birds would build in and would be protected from the crows? Also, my bird book states they nest in colonies. What can we do to get more than one pair under our dock? The crows have also been destroying purple martin nests. Any suggestions?

Birding Expert - George H. Harrison

Barn swallows do not nest in boxes or birdhouses. They build their nests of mud and grass on the sides of beams, usually in a barn. My suggestion is that you attach a skirt of wood, say a 2 x 6 or 2 x 8 to both sides of the dock so that the crows will not be able to fly down under and up to the swallow’s nests. The swallows should have no problem with this. Barn swallow do nest in loose colonies, but not side by side. You might get a second nest under your dock, but not close to the first one. On the purple martins, I have never heard of crows bothering then because purple martins do nest inside birdhouses. How do the crows get inside the house that has an entrance hole large enough for a purple martin to enter, but not a crow?

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