Thursday, May 23, 2013

return of the barn swallows

I thought I had blogged about the nuisance birds on my balcony before, but apparently I hadn't. Over the past two years, I've had a problem with birds that build nests on my balcony. I kept knocking the nests down (never when they had eggs in them, so don't worry about that), but the damn birds would keep rebuilding the nests. This happened about six times over the course of two years' residence here in Appalachia.* Finally, I kept a couple of the nests I had knocked down and looked them up on the internet. Result: barn swallows. These birds turn out to be persistent little bastards, and they can rebuild a nest within 24 hours. The solution?

Well, in looking up barn swallows, I found out that you can't legally kill them. They may be a nuisance, but they're protected under Virginia law. So are their eggs, which makes knocking down a nest with eggs equally illegal. So I began to research methods for keeping the birds away, and arrived at bird spikes. The term bird spikes sounds horrifying, but the spikes aren't harmful at all: the idea is simply to make the birds' favorite landing area too prickly for them to land on.

Around the time that I was thinking of buying a set of spikes, I spoke with the maintenance guys at my apartment complex about the problem, and the younger of the two guys came up with what seemed like an ingenious solution: barbed wire. He came by one day and mounted a vertical strand of barbed wire very close to where the swallows liked to land. For months and months, I had no bird problems at all... until I came back from my trip to Korea and heard mad chirping at 4AM. I knew the swallows had returned, and the little fuckers had somehow managed to rebuild their nest just inside the barbed wire's ambit. Last night, I knocked that nest down. Luckily, no eggs.

So it seems I'm going to need to buy a bona fide set of bird spikes. I see that Target sells them, so I may just trundle out to my local Target and pick some up.

*I moved to this one-horse town in November of 2010, so it'll have been three years' residence this coming November. But the barn-swallow problem didn't happen immediately; I went almost a year without any intrusions at all.



Bratfink said...

Actually, you have written about this problem before otherwise it would have been news to me, but it wasn't.

Good luck with your hunt at Tarjay.

Kevin Kim said...

I tried to look that post up, but couldn't find it. Perhaps I should look again.

Kevin Kim said...

I did find some tweets I'd written on the subject.

Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Why are barn swallows allowed to legally nest away from barns?!

Jeffery Hodges

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