Barn Swallows in gourds?

exmarMay 24, 2012

Hi folks,

Discovered some "forgotten" bird house gourds and researched turning them into birdhouses. Discovered that if we wanted bluebirds to nest the hole had to be exactly 1.5". OK, did that hung them in a maple tree and waited. 3 weeks later I was amazed to see a barnswallow trying to get into the hole, but it wouldn't fit. Going out to the barn I got a half round wood rasp and enlared the hole(s) and the barnswallow is not going in and out. Also observed a "territorial dispute" between two barnswallows and a blue bird over one of the gourds?

I'm confused by this, the barnswallows I'm familiar with nest in barns and make nests of mud, etc. They don't move into ready made nests, or do they? Or perhaps what I'm calling a barnswallow is another swallow?

Anyone else seen this?

Thanks for your time,


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Are you sure they were barn swallows? They were more likely to be tree swallows, which nest in hollow trees and other cavities, and would definitely use a gourd. They are very similar to a barn swallow, except they lack the rusty orange underneath the throat and belly, and the tail is solid and straight, not a forked tail like a barn swallow. And they are very common and are found throughout Ohio and virtually all of N. America south of the arctic.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 12:14PM
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Yep, you're right. They're tree swallows. Did some internet research and ID'd them. Interesting, we had a pair of barn swallows who came around and had a territorial dispute with the tree swallows and then left. Anyway, I think swallows are the neatest birds, like little fighter jets swooping around with the swept back wings.

This spring our place is turning into an aviary. We had bluebirds nest and bring off a brood in a planter/birdhouse thing on the front porch, now others are back investigating, or the same ones? The tree swallows appeared, and now something we can't ID has a nest in one of the hanging ferns by the front steps. It's a little (very little) brown bird that is really fast, currently there's one nestling they're feeding.

Thanks for the response,


    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 8:51AM
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We have barn swallows that come back every year .They made a home for themselves on the roof under our porch. . It was safe because no other bird would go on our porch. Very messy though & I took away our chairs& put a cardboard box for dropping

All my friends thought we where nuts

The first year we had them I had put out a decorative bird house ( not meant to be used as a bird house). It did have a flat roof & to our surprise 2 barn swallows build their mud nest ON TOP of the bird house .A chimney made a good roost at night
.Its the stangest place I have heard of for nests.

The first year they had 2 baby's then 2 years ago 4. They would sit on the railing & sometimes dive bomb us when we sat our there but finally they did get used to us

Then last year ,no birds .I do know they fly a long way in winter so thought something happened to them so I tore down the nest & threw out the bird house .This year I put a smaller bird house up & sure enough a swallow found our porch ..I think it may have been one of the baby's from the previous years . It was so funny to watch this male trying to get a mate. For over a month he screamed out to every swallow that went by & even tried to build the bottom of the nest.. FInally he had luck

Now these 2 are more scared of us so we try to stay off the much as possible. Also nest was small .They layed 2 eggs but one day I found a broken one on the ground .Anyone know if this is normal???

One baby was born & he hung around for a week after parents left but yesterday the parents came back overnight to the nest & he finally flew of with them .. WE WILL MISS THEM.. HOPE WE GET THEM NEXT YEAR Don't need bug spay our swallows are great hunters

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 11:56PM
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