Our Guides

How to help nesting swallows

The swallows we have here are called barn swallows and they like to nest in barns. Not everyone has a barn but you might have a garage, shed, or other outhouse which you think they might enjoy going into.

Image courtesy of Steve McWilliam

If you do, make sure that they can easily enter. You could leave the door or window open a little or cut a small hole at least 5cm high and 20cm wide near the roof.

If you want to be particularly helpful, you could even make an area for them to nest:

  • Make a small platform for them from wood and attach it up high near the roof. If you don’t want birds nesting in certain areas then block them off.
  • You can also buy swallow nest boxes – these are specially made cup shaped nests which you can easily fix to a wall inside the shed or garage.
  • If you want to get creative, you could have a go at making your own papier mache swallow cup shaped nest box.

Being extra helpful for nesting Swallows

If you know swallows are nesting and the weather is really warm the birds might get too hot inside the building. You can help by soaking an old rug, blanket or towel with water and leaving it on the roof where the nest is. Make sure you top up the water if it evaporates.

Swallows build their nests using mud. If the weather's quite warm and everywhere is dry they can have trouble finding mud. You could help them by make a muddy area near where you’d like them to nest, from which they can collect nesting material.

Keep a look out for visitors and record when they arrive and leave. Pass on your findings to your local recording centre, or us! This is information can be really useful and tell us lots about the Swallows.

What to do next

Now that you've helped nesting swallows it's really important to us that you let us know using this form (you can upload a photo too).

Record your action

By keeping track of where amazing people like you are creating wildlife friendly spaces we can see the impact we're having.

And don't forget to keep recording the wildlife you see in your local area here: www.chesterzoo.org/record


RSPB - Encouraging nesting

Accomodating swallows, swifts and house martins - Cornwall Council (PDF)