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Old 09-13-2017, 06:00 AM
densa44 densa44 is offline
 
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Smile Cliff swallows?

Have they left for the winter already? I had some nest near the house this year. They build nests on the garage under the eves, not in the nest boxes I built for them. However they had lots of chicks and I haven't seen a mosquito or horse fly all summer. This has been the best solution of any that I've tried so far.Can I expect them back next spring?

Thanks guys.
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Old 09-13-2017, 06:38 AM
FCLightning FCLightning is offline
 
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We have a pair of barn swallows that nested inside the kennel building (I am not sure how they go about getting in and out through the dog run doors without any of the dogs ever catching them) for the past four years. I am assuming it is the same pair returning every year because I find it hard to believe that a random pair of swallows would learn to enter and exit the building every spring.
So I think your chances are pretty good they will return.
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Old 09-13-2017, 06:41 AM
lakebesnard lakebesnard is offline
 
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Yes most likely they'll be back .... but were they cliff swallows or barn swallows? google them to see the differences in nest shape and body shape.
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Old 09-13-2017, 08:23 AM
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covey ridge covey ridge is offline
 
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They seem to return every year to the same locations.
I have not seen mosquitos or a horse fly all season, but I attribute that to the 30 plus temperatures and no moisture.
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Old 09-13-2017, 08:59 AM
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We had some previously, don't know which kind. they came back every year to the same spot, until they didn't, no idea why. Way more bugs now. I'm going to look into ways of attracting swallows.
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Old 09-13-2017, 09:04 AM
waterninja waterninja is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by densa44 View Post
Have they left for the winter already? I had some nest near the house this year. They build nests on the garage under the eves, not in the nest boxes I built for them. However they had lots of chicks and I haven't seen a mosquito or horse fly all summer. This has been the best solution of any that I've tried so far.Can I expect them back next spring?

Thanks guys.
It sounds to me that you might have barn swallows and not cliff swallows. Either way, they do a great job on cleaning up the mosquitoes. You might want to look into getting some Purple Martin houses for your yard someday. They also really do a number on mosquitoes and a large house can have a dozen families in it.
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Old 09-13-2017, 02:11 PM
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Big Lou Big Lou is offline
 
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Originally Posted by waterninja View Post
It sounds to me that you might have barn swallows and not cliff swallows. Either way, they do a great job on cleaning up the mosquitoes. You might want to look into getting some Purple Martin houses for your yard someday. They also really do a number on mosquitoes and a large house can have a dozen families in it.
Although Purple Martins are a swallow, it is a commonly purpotrated myth that they eat massive quantities of mosquitos. I can't recall the name of the fellow who started it but he was one of the first to offer ready made martin housing and one of his marketing tactics was saying that martins ate mosquitos in quantity. Many studies have been conducted and the only Mosquitos that martins consume are a larger species of mosquito that live in the south eastern US. Tree and barn swallows will do more than any Martin colony. I hosted 58 pair of Martins at my place last year and trust me, they do nothing for mosquito control. If you really want to do mosquito population damage get a bat house or two up and going. They will impact mosquitos like a swarm of giant dragonflies.
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Old 09-13-2017, 02:34 PM
FCLightning FCLightning is offline
 
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Always something to be learned from threads on this forum. But bats are probably no more effective at mosquito control than the Martins.

Quote:
“Bats are very poor predators of mosquitoes,” says Joe Conlon, a medical entomologist with the American Mosquito Control Association. While they’ll eat the insects, they prefer moths and beetles.

“Less than 1% of their foodstuffs are mosquitoes,” Conlon says. “They would starve if they relied on mosquitoes.”
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Old 09-13-2017, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by FCLightning View Post
Always something to be learned from threads on this forum. But bats are probably no more effective at mosquito control than the Martins.
Interesting. Will have to do some more digging into this. Not disputing your source at all. I've been wrong before. I did read somewhere about using bats to effectively control mosquitos but perhaps it was generated by someone mass producing bat houses for sale.
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Old 09-13-2017, 04:19 PM
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The ones that were flying around your garage at the test were Barn Swallows. Cliff Swallows usually use a rock, brick, or concrete surface; and neither nests in cavities (like nest boxes). Your nest boxes will work for Tree Swallows provided the hole is big enough (usually 1 1/2") and the floor area is big enough (typically 5"x5").
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Old 09-13-2017, 04:22 PM
FCLightning FCLightning is offline
 
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When I was putting up my bat houses I searched for information about it. It seems someone did a "study" where they put bats in a room full of mosquitoes and counted how many they could catch per minute. From that was extrapolated the tremendous number that it would be possible for them to catch in a night of feeding. But real world observations have shown that reality is quite different - similar to the hype on the Martins.

We traveled to Whitehorse this summer, camped and golfed all about Alberta and have been outside in the yard every single day we were home. I applied mosquito spray twice this entire year, and once was really unnecessary. I don't think that the birds/bats etc. had much to do with it.
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Old 09-13-2017, 05:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alacringa View Post
The ones that were flying around your garage at the test were Barn Swallows. Cliff Swallows usually use a rock, brick, or concrete surface; and neither nests in cavities (like nest boxes). Your nest boxes will work for Tree Swallows provided the hole is big enough (usually 1 1/2") and the floor area is big enough (typically 5"x5").
Is that the correct size hole for swallows? In my youth I built a few houses with 1 1/2 inch holes and only got sparrows. It was a long time back, but I recall being told that swallows favored a smaller entrance, where they could enter and larger birds could not.
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Old 09-13-2017, 06:51 PM
FCLightning FCLightning is offline
 
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Originally Posted by covey ridge View Post
Is that the correct size hole for swallows? In my youth I built a few houses with 1 1/2 inch holes and only got sparrows. It was a long time back, but I recall being told that swallows favored a smaller entrance, where they could enter and larger birds could not.
The House Sparrows are small enough to fit in most boxes except Wren houses. You cannot exclude them by hole size. 1 1/2" should be good for the Tree Swallows, but is too small for Bluebirds. All the boxes in my yard are built with 1 9/16" holes because the research at the Joffre station had determined that Bluebirds will still squeeze in them but the Starlings will not be able to (unlike the Bluebirds preferred size of 1 5/8") so one would only have to worry about House Sparrows as predators on the nest. The Tree Swallows happily use the 1 9/16" holes. I had about 10 pairs of Tree Swallows this year - and the first successful hatch of Bluebirds since the big spring blizzard of about 6 years ago. One evening a few weeks ago I counted 45 Swallows on the power line in the yard.
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Old 09-13-2017, 06:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FCLightning View Post
The House Sparrows are small enough to fit in most boxes except Wren houses. You cannot exclude them by hole size. 1 1/2" should be good for the Tree Swallows, but is too small for Bluebirds. All the boxes in my yard are built with 1 9/16" holes because the research at the Joffre station had determined that Bluebirds will still squeeze in them but the Starlings will not be able to (unlike the Bluebirds preferred size of 1 5/8") so one would only have to worry about House Sparrows as predators on the nest. The Tree Swallows happily use the 1 9/16" holes. I had about 10 pairs of Tree Swallows this year - and the first successful hatch of Bluebirds since the big spring blizzard of about 6 years ago. One evening a few weeks ago I counted 45 Swallows on the power line in the yard.
Where do you place the nesting boxes for the tree swallows? I have poplars, fruit trees, large lilac and choke cherry hedge and lots of evergreens.
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Old 09-13-2017, 07:06 PM
FCLightning FCLightning is offline
 
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I put them on the fence posts. Every couple of hundred yards will be two boxes on adjacent posts. If the Bluebirds take up residence in one, the Tree Swallows will nest in the other one without fighting the Bluebirds for space. Both Bluebirds and Tree Swallows will defend the nest from others of their kind, hence the spacing of a 100+ yards between pairs of houses.

Try to keep them in open areas about 4 ft. off the ground.
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Old 09-13-2017, 07:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FCLightning View Post
I put them on the fence posts. Every couple of hundred yards will be two boxes on adjacent posts. If the Bluebirds take up residence in one, the Tree Swallows will nest in the other one without fighting the Bluebirds for space. Both Bluebirds and Tree Swallows will defend the nest from others of their kind, hence the spacing of a 100+ yards between pairs of houses.

Try to keep them in open areas about 4 ft. off the ground.
Do they need cleaning between seasons and do leave them out all year?
Thanks
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Old 09-13-2017, 08:48 PM
FCLightning FCLightning is offline
 
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Yes, I clean them out every spring - late march. They stay out all year - some of them are 10 years old.
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Old 09-13-2017, 10:31 PM
270person 270person is offline
 
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I opened this thinking it was a put down on some guy named Cliff.
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Old 09-14-2017, 05:50 AM
densa44 densa44 is offline
 
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Default Barn Swallows is what they are/were

The purple martin houses used to be supplied by Dirt Willy, who has passed on much too young and I was told, I believe here that Martins feed at a higher altitude than the smaller swallows, but the ones I had here this year did a fantastic job and I'd like to encourage them.
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Old 09-14-2017, 06:28 AM
FCLightning FCLightning is offline
 
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Next to pigeons, barn swallows are perhaps the messiest, dirtiest birds there are. But we let them be in the yard anyway because we enjoy seeing them and the young develop - one nest is over the back door of the house just 5 ft. from the kitchen window. Having to pressure wash the step, door and side of the house every year after the young have fledged is a small price to pay for the close up views.
The only real way to encourage them is to not discourage them. Most folks aggressively wash down the nests to prevent the birds from setting up shop so they don't have the dirty mess around, but if you leave them be they will return every year.
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