The Barn Swallow is a small swallow with long pointed wings and a deeply forked tail. Its upper parts are cobalt blue, its forehead is a reddish brown and it’s under parts are a lighter orange-brown. There is a partial blue band across the chest. Males and females look very similar.

A beautiful barn swallow perches on an iron rod

As its name might suggest Barn Swallows nest in barns, garages, houses, bridges and culverts near open areas and are often seen resting on power lines, light posts and other horizontal perches. They exist throughout Nova Scotia including all major agricultural areas. Generally they are observed from May to September in colonial groups near cropland, hayfields, riparian areas and wetlands where they hunt for flying insects. Barn swallows are a part of the agricultural landscape in Nova Scotia, but unfortunately, have experience very sharp population declines.

How You Can Help:

Old barns make great habitat for barn swallows, so if it is possible, avoid destruction of old abandoned buildings to provide roosting and nesting opportunities for Barn Swallows. Leave barn doors and hatches open to allow nesting birds to enter. Shelves on the outside walls (protected by eaves) of old buildings can provide nest sites for both barn and cliff swallows.

A pair of barn swallows takes rest under the eaves of a residence

Barn swallows will build nests on the top of the shelf and cliff swallows will nest underneath the shelf. You can also encourage nesting by creating or maintaining a muddy patch near your barn.

Try limiting pesticide and chemical use that negatively affect non-pest insect populations.

Helpful Links:

If you have barn swallows at your property or farm you can submit the sightings at eBird.org or by emailing Nova Scotia’s Species at Risk, Conservation and Recovery team at sightings@speciesatrisk.ca