Swallows are wonderful to watch and they eat huge numbers of flying insects, including mosquitoes and other biting insects, so we all benefit from having them around. But they also like to build their nests under the eaves of houses, which can result in splotches of white swallow poop on our decks or patio furniture.
Unfortunately, some people then resort to knocking down nests, killing many baby swallows. This is very sad, illegal and unnecessary because there are some easy ways to reduce the bird poop problem without damaging the birds. Placing a piece of cardboard (from an old box) on the deck beneath the nest can catch a lot of the droppings, and the cardboard can be replaced every week or so.
You can also attach a small board (~ 2 feet long by 6 “wide) to the wall 2 or 3 feet below the nest to catch the droppings. Be careful not to place the board too close beneath the nest because the parents need space to swoop up to feed their babies. The board can then be removed at the end of the season.
With a little thought and ingenuity we can minimize the bird poop issue, enjoy the sunshine on our decks, and the swallows can spend the summer raising their youngsters.