Small Bird Detering Barn Swallows
We have always had barn swallows in the floor joists of the high bay of our old wood barn. This year they came in the Spring as usual and had their first crop, lots of cheep cheep and droppings. Then a small gray bird (no bigger than a swallow but more round and puffy) arrived building a nest high under the eves of the adjacent building. This bird was not at all skittish like a sparrow and spent time in the barn and sitting on the basketball hoop on the barn door. In two experiences I walked close enough to it that I was afraid of being pecked and it never flinched. I saw mostly the female but for a week or two think I saw a slightly more colorful male. I never saw it bothering the barn swallows but after it arrived we found white egg fragments and never saw anymore young being raised. We have from time to time seen and heard the swallows on the wire where they usually perch but no more in the barn. The droppings continued but less and different in character with no more cheep cheep. Could there be a new predator on Barn Swallows or their young?
Washtenaw County Michigan
Thanks Elliot; The squirrel Idea is interesting. The top floor of the barn is a major walnut storage area for our squirrels. They are also well established. There is a big knot hole in the floor within a foot or so of the nest that the birds seemed to abandoned. I could make metal shields for the floor joists on which the swallow nests are anchored but squirrels are hard to deter. Next year I will watch closer and try to get a picture of the gray bird if it returns.
Best of luck!