Support
Subscribe
Subscribe to BirdNote

Sign up to receive a weekly email preview of the following week's shows!

Sign Up
Support BirdNote

Help BirdNote tell more stories, reach more people, and inspire action.

DONATE

You are here

Barn Swallow, Natural Pest Control

Away, mosquitoes!

Barn Swallows have adapted to nesting near people, and build their cup-shaped mud nests in barns or garages, or on protected ledges, often near each other. The good news? These twittery, flittery birds love to eat the insects that humans consider pesky.

Imagine: 60 insects per hour, a whopping 850 per day. That's how much each bird eats.

Full Transcript

Transcript: 
BirdNote®
Barn Swallow, Natural Pest Control

Adapted from a script by Frances Wood

This is BirdNote!
[Sound of chattering Barn Swallows]
Has a Barn Swallow started slapping mud on a wall of your house in preparation for making a nest? Are you dreading the clean-up duties that will follow? If so, the chattering of this swallow probably is not music to your ears.
[Repeat chattering]
Over the years, Barn Swallows have adapted to nesting near people, and often build their mud nests in barns or garages, and on protected ledges. They seem to particularly favor ledges right above a front door. The welcome mat below becomes a pile of unwanted calling cards.
But a Barn Swallow nest above the door is also a sign of good luck. How could that be? Simple. Barn Swallows love the insects that we humans consider pesky, [mosquito] especially mosquitoes, gnats, and flying termites. A single Barn Swallow can consume 60 insects per hour or a whopping 850 per day. That’s 25,000 fewer insects per month that might have joined your summer barbecue. Considering the hundreds of thousands of Barn Swallows all over the country, well… that’s roughly a buzzillion bugs that aren’t bothering us humans. Maybe now the chatter of the Barn Swallow is a more pleasing sound.
 [Chattering Barn Swallow]
For remarkable photos of the birds we feature, come to birdnote.org and click “Weekly Preview.” That’s birdnote.org. I’m Mary McCann.
###
Chatter of Barn Swallows provided by the Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Recorded by R.S. Little. Sound of flies recorded by G. F. Budney.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2014 Tune In to Nature.org     May 2014    Narrator:  Mary McCann

ID#042805BARS      BARS-01b

Sights & Sounds

Related topics:

Home
Shows
Galleries
More