Introduction: Artificial Barn Swallow Nests

About: Failure is not the opposite of success, it's part of success.

Passerine numbers are declining since many years. Habitat-loss & degradation, pollution, global change, loss of migration-stepstones, hunting etc. Our - human - fault, anyway. Again.

So it's no more than logic that it's also our responsability to take action where we can. Even the smallest act matters. Pissing on a raging forest fire is better than keeping it for yourself. I grew up in the Brussels area, I know what I'm talking about - 'Manneke Pis', you know.

Talking about Barn Swallows, in particular. These little long distance migrants are in heaven in diversified man-made habitats with a healthy mix of prairies, pastures, fields, hedges & bushes. And dirty farms, also. The dirtier the better.

Those flies, you know. Dark clouds of big tasty flies. And mosquitos.

That kind of farms is history now. When I was a kid all the farms I knew had at least several dozens of swallow nests. Now those farms are or gone or different. Closed gates, sterile environments.

Economic optimisation, you know. And tight hygiene. And no flies anymore around the dung heap. And so no more Barn swallows, also.

Not only food is important. Those tiny birds need special hardware to build their particularly shaped balcony nests. Good mud, and hay to arm it. Mud has become scarce, also. In this post apocalyptic agro-industrial era ground water levels are kept downward and every parcel of land gets money-ised. Even mud is rare these days.

And so sometimes, really sometimes, our feathered companions might need a little help to keep their heads above the water. I can't change the world, but I can make their life maybe a little bit easier by proposing them some ready built nests.

Step 1: Needs

You can make this as complicated as you will, but I decided to use cheap nice bamboo kitchen hardware. Bowls & cutting boards. Easy peasy.

Step 2: Cut 'em in Half, Almost

Choose your biggest saw or your heaviest axe and cut those bowls in half.

In fact, I realised that 'half' is just not wide enough, and so 3/4 is way much better.

You'll be using the 3/4 piece, of course.

And a grinder is much better, finally.

Step 3: Prepare the Boards

I guess you just can glue them together, but since you definitely don't want to fall those chicks 2m straight I suggest to play it safety first.

The artwork is optional. No proven scientific evidence on breeding success. Yet.

Step 4: Gettin' Wired


Step 5: Hang 'em

Hang those nests at about 20 or 30 cm from the ceiling of an open garage, barn or stable - or your living room, no judgements - and get ready for the arrival of those tiny travelers.


The simple things, you know.