barn swallow nests

Asked March 12, 2020, 7:02 AM EDT

We live in the country, have a pond, and barn swallows return every year mid-April/first of May. We have a few nests on the house which they return to and they will build new ones too, but we need to power wash our house. Should this be done before they return? If those old nests are taken down will they rebuild? How can I best not interrupt their schedule as I do not want to cause them to leave. Any other tip will be appreciated. Also, it seems like we have fewer return each year. Thank you.

Marshall County Illinois

1 Response

Barn swallows frequently return to the same location to nest, but not necessarily to the same nest. You're probably safe in removing and power washing your house before new nests are built by returning birds. Migration times may vary due to weather or other circumstances. Barn swallows may even avoid some of the nests already there due to parasites or mites.
If you'd like to help them after you clean your house, you can build or buy new nests to allow them to have an immediate option. Otherwise, they can build the nest from various materials found on your property.
These two resources may be useful:
https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Barn_Swallow/overview
https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/education/CDIndex/BarnSwallow.pdf