How to move or safely remove a swallows nest

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Non-financial Questions' started by dmos87, Aug 11, 2016.

  1. dmos87

    dmos87 Frequent Poster

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    Hi folks,

    We recently moved house, and the house comes with an under-the-house area that had been pre-set up for hanging up clothes. Fantastic for us as we go through a lot of clothes with a toddler, shirts for the other half, and theres another little one on the way. As its under the house, its sheltered - this means that even when its raining we can be drying clothes (this makes me very happy as the primary clothes washer!).

    Down in the same under house area is an old Coal storage building, thats unused (by humans at least). We discovered two swallow nests down there and to be honest thought they were lovely. They chirp away and are very happy, and our three year old loves going down to watch them in the nests. We had all intentions of living with them and letting nature be. The previous owners have told us that they come back every year for the last 20 or so years.

    Heres the problem - the swallows are literally shitt!ng all over our clothes as they dry. I'm not talking about droppings on ONE item (that I can cope with); they are destroying ALL hanging clothes like they are targets. They fly above the clothes lines to get to the exit and into the trees, and on their way they fire off. Our whites are no longer fully white, but have greyish stains down them. Today alone I went down to bring in washing thats there since about 10am - A double bed duvet, two pillow cases, two work shirts of hubby's, two tops of my sons and lots of underwear have sh!te on them so have to be re-washed now.

    I'm really getting fed up. I don't have the time to keep washing clothes like this, and to be honest now my patience is running thin with them. Theres no alternative areas to dry clothes outside of the house, and I don't want damp in the winter. I feel like we're at war almost. I'm also hormonal (pregnancy) and I'm getting serious sick of all the extra work and anxiety from it.

    Can someone please tell us a safe way to move the nests to an outdoor tree, or remove them altogether (safely)? When do swallows migrate for winter, could I move the nests then? And how do we stop them from returning? This all sounds so daft but I'm drowning in dirty washing and its going to cost us a fortune in dry-cleaning if we don't figure something out soon.
     
  2. odyssey06

    odyssey06 Frequent Poster

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  3. mathepac

    mathepac Frequent Poster

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    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 11, 2016
    http://www.wildlifemanagement.ie/swallows/

    There are two phone numbers top right in the gold box.

    I empathise with your bird problem. I have them as well PLUS crows!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 11, 2016
  4. dmos87

    dmos87 Frequent Poster

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    Thanks for the links lads, learning a lot here! I don't want to hurt them - we like them. I just want to relocate them to a serious amazing big tree in the front garden if I can, or a different outer area of the house itself. But I don't know the foggiest about moving nests so I'll give those lads at Wildlife management a call in the next few days/weeks.

    Any tips or advice for avoiding poop-gate for the next 6-8 weeks?!??! (feeling desperate)
     
  5. odyssey06

    odyssey06 Frequent Poster

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    For the next 6-8 weeks I don't think there's a magic bullet... it's a bit of leg work but keep an eye on the hour by hour rain forecast on YR.No ... I find them to be very accurate for Dublin Bay at least. It's the Norwegian met office, who somehow have more accurate forecasts for Ireland than our own. You can select English as your language in the top right corner...

    http://www.yr.no/place/Ireland/Leinster/Dublin_City/hour_by_hour.html
     
  6. dmos87

    dmos87 Frequent Poster

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    Am I understanding you correctly odyssey06 - if its raining they won't leave the nest, therefore while it's raining I can be drying clothes? And take them back in once the rain stops?
     
  7. PaddyBloggit

    PaddyBloggit Frequent Poster

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    Remove the nests when the swallows have moved out. They'll disappear within the next few weeks. It would be unfair to disturb them now.

    When they come back next year, keep removing the nests as they rebuild - they'll get the message and move on.
     
  8. odyssey06

    odyssey06 Frequent Poster

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    Last edited: Aug 12, 2016
    There's some proverb in the back of my mind about swallows flying high when it's dry...
    https://www.theguardian.com/news/2012/may/20/weatherwatch-birdwatching-swallows-folklore

    But their definition of low might still involve skimming clothes lines height...
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2016
  9. Gerry Canning

    Gerry Canning Frequent Poster

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    dmos87.

    Swallows , like corncrakes , etc are getting scarcer .
    Try to Feel blessed to have them.
    When your toddler grows up , it will be a lovely memory.

    After 20 years and extended families it would be very sad to evict them.
     
  10. losttheplot

    losttheplot Frequent Poster

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    Could you put nets around the clothes drying area?
     
  11. horusd

    horusd Frequent Poster

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    I would lightly peg a plastic cover (piece of sheet) over the washing. Put up correctly it should do the trick.
     
  12. dmos87

    dmos87 Frequent Poster

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    Thanks to everyone for the responses. By some miracle (or an act of god to keep me sane!), about two days after posting it would seem they have already moved on. No noises day or night, no sightings. Both nests still fully intact downstairs. Finally getting through the mountains of washing!

    I do really like them and as I mentioned, so does my son. I think once they arrive back next summer we'll go with a large plastic sheet pegged above the clothesline, if it works next summer we'll stick with it but if not we'll try a relocation the year after ;)
     
    Gerry Canning, diver and odyssey06 like this.
  13. mathepac

    mathepac Frequent Poster

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    They read the thread obviously. Best of luck with your visitors next year.
     
    Sue Ellen likes this.
  14. midleton

    midleton Frequent Poster

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    Only later back to the brill site that this is so just saw your post now. Your swallows will be back next summer but hopefully our summer will be sunshine all through so you will be able to get your washing dry outdoors and still have the swallows to keep ye company. I know the droppings can be a bit much at times but my God they are gorgeous birds. Ours appeared first over twenty years ago next door in my mother in laws back yard. My mother in law and her sis were elderly and they got days and of enjoyment just sitting watching the goings on of the birds how they fed the young, how the second or third brood helped to feed the new ones just out of the nest. How the mother teased the young ones without giving them the food on a wire to get them to fly off the wire and not wait to be fed constantly. There was always the last little lazy one but he or she eventually flew off too and got their strength up for the journey ahead of them. At night the young roosted on a wire outside the back dooor so close to our heads we could touch them but we didn't. We would duck down and go under them and they felt so comfortable they wouldn't move or be frightened. They would sit two facing one way the next two facing the opposite direction all huddled together. We noticed over the years the young when they fly and gather in larger groups getting ready to fly off they do not come back at night but the parents do for a few nights on their own as if to rest after a busy summer rearing family. My mum in law and aunt are passed on with good few years and their home sold and our new neighbours love to see the birds returning. We also have some in our dogs shed and he takes no notice of them. I am a right fool and I don't care but when I see the first of them appearing back I love it. Our neighbours further up are the first they appear to in their garage then ours appear and I go out into our tiny back yard to say welcome back. I think they are the most amazing birds I absolutely adore them. When they leave I go out for a few nights if I feel they are about to head to say goodbye and I am so sad this year I missed that they went off earlier than I thought. I think its kinda sad when they go cos its a sign summer is done for another year. When we humans go on trip abroad we go to such lengths to book flights etc but they fly and they flly an unbelievable distance for such tiny little birds they are just amazing and awe-inspiring. If their poo annoys you where it gathers under the nests put papers on the ground and catch the droppings then bin the paper every so often. Yes pls put the plastic over your clothes if the weather is not good enough to dry them outside. I think your so lucky that swallows chose your home to come back to year after year surely it must say our homes feel safe and secure if they do come back. Long may they come and stay with us for a while.
     
  15. dub_nerd

    dub_nerd Frequent Poster

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    Just saw this thread. Nobody seems to have mentioned that it's illegal to tamper with a swallow's nest while in active use, even if you think you're putting them somewhere nicer (Wildlife Act 1976 and Wildlife Amendment Act 2000). The common way to prevent swallows from returning to the same nesting site the following year is with netting.