All About Barn Swallows

Barn swallows love to build their mud-cup nests on manmade structures—under the eaves of barns, houses, or outbuildings; on girders and rafters; and around bridges.

These spots make perfect, protected nesting nooks. Gardeners appreciate barn swallows for their graceful flight, handsome good looks, and taste for insects.

Look for a streamlined bird that is steel-blue above and buff-cinnamon below, with a rusty throat and forehead patch.

Watch for barn swallows around lakes and rivers, where the birds skim the surface as they dip, swerve, and swoop to hunt flying insects. Parks, golf courses, large lawns, and pastures also attract swallows.

Listen to the constant, quiet chatter and twitter of barn swallows. The call is a persistent kvit-kvit-kvit.

Attract barn swallows by watering up a nice mudhole every day. The birds will come to gather mud for their nests.

Identify a barn swallow in flight by its deeply forked tail. Other swallows’ tails are not forked.

Did you know that some barn swallows fly more than 500 miles per day while hunting insects for hungry nestlings?