How to Scare Away Barn Swallows?

Barn swallows are beautiful birds that are beneficial to the environment because they keep insect populations from getting out of control. That said, they tend to be noisy, produce a lot of droppings, and may claim your barn, shed, garage, and even parts of your house for their nests. If you’re wondering how to keep these birds off your property, keep reading! In this article, we’ll talk about how to scare away barn swallows and keep them from coming back.

Are Barn Swallows Protected By Law?

Are Barn Swallows Protected By Law

Barn swallows are not considered an endangered species, but they are protected by federal law for another reason: they are migratory.

Barn swallows are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. It is illegal to hurt or kill these birds as well as to tamper with their nest while eggs or young are present.

Of course, this means you have to be careful with the steps you take to keep them off your property.

Fortunately, there are many good ways to deter barn swallows and other birds without harming them in any way. Read on for a list of these humane ways to scare away barn swallows. 

How to Get Rid of Barn Swallows?

Like many birds, there are a variety of sights and sounds that barn swallows don’t like. You could also use barriers or bird spikes, remove their food source, or call a professional wildlife service if you’re unable to get rid of the birds yourself.

Sight Deterrents

Sight deterrents are any physical objects that scare birds away because of how they look. Some common site deterrents you could use for barn swallows include:

  • Kites: Any kite will work to scare birds away, but a specific bird deterrent kite in the shape of a hawk can be purchased for extra success. These kites are flown on windy days and give the appearance of a large predatory bird in the area.
  • Owls: Lifelike owl scarecrows can be set up in any area where you notice a lot of barn swallows gathering. This deterrent works much like the kite method above–it tricks the barn swallows into thinking there is a bird of prey nearby.
  • Laser lights: There are laser light deterrents available that shoot out beams of light in erratic patterns. These light patterns confuse barn swallows, in turn convincing them to fly away to safer, more predictable areas.
  • Reflective objects: Most birds are afraid of reflective objects for the same reason they don’t like laser lights–the patterns produced when the reflective objects catch the sunlight are unpredictable and erratic. Try hanging old CDs or DVDs, pieces of foil, reflective tape, or other shiny objects in any area where barn swallows congregate on your property.

Sound Deterrents

Sound deterrents produce sounds that scare away barn swallows. Some of these deterrents can include:

  • Ultrasonic sounds: Ultrasonic deterrents produce high-pitched noises that are irritating to birds and other creatures. With most ultrasonic deterrents, you can set the specific frequency, and many of them are beyond the range of what humans can hear–in other words, they will keep the birds away without irritating human ears.
  • Predator noises: Some deterrent devices play sounds that are typically produced by predators. This will make the barn swallows think your yard is unsafe and will send them flying away as fast as possible.
  • Bird distress calls: There are also some deterrent devices that will play the sounds produced by birds in distress. You may be able to select the specific type of bird you want to repel, so when choosing one of these devices, make sure barn swallow is an option.

Bird Spikes

Bird spikes are a great way to keep many different kinds of birds away. These blunt spikes can be mounted anywhere a bird might try to perch to keep them from landing.

To use them for barn swallows, mount them around your barn, garage, shed, or anywhere else you notice the birds gathering and building nests. If they don’t have a good place to land, they will move on and look for a more convenient nesting site.

To learn more about using bird spikes to keep barn swallows away, check out this video:

Bird Netting

You can place bird netting around the rafters and eaves of your barn or house. This will effectively block barn swallows’ access to their favorite nesting spots, sending them off to find a better place to start a family.

Similarly, a nesting shield will also prevent barn swallows from building a home because the monofilament fibers from the shield irritate the birds’ wings. By installing one or both of these barrier-type deterrents, you can quickly and effectively chase away even a large population of barn swallows.

Insect Removal

Barn swallows are insectivorous, and they eat a large amount of bugs every day. If you want to get rid of barn swallows and keep them away, one of the most effective methods is to remove their food source.

Insect infestations may need to be removed professionally. If you choose to get rid of the bugs yourself, choose gentle methods such as planting strong-smelling plants the insects don’t like. If you have to use an insecticide, choose one that is eco-friendly and won’t harm animals or people in the area. 

Professional Help

Finally, if nothing you do works to get rid of the barn swallows, your best bet might be to call a wildlife removal service.

These services train their employees in the best ways to get rid of a variety of animals. They also have the right products and equipment to do the job quickly and efficiently. 

How to Keep Barn Swallows Away?

How to Keep Barn Swallows Away

So, once you’ve gotten rid of the barn swallows, what can you do to keep them from coming back?

In addition to keeping your removal methods in place, there are a few additional steps you can take:

Repellant Sprays

There are a variety of products that keep birds away using their sense of smell. These products cause temporary irritation to the birds’ nasal passages, prompting them to avoid the area without hurting them.

Again, make sure to choose a safe, eco-friendly product.

Insect Reduction

Once you’ve gotten rid of your insect problems, you’ll want to do all you can to keep them away. Plants such as peppermint and marigold are fairly effective at keeping a variety of insects out of your yard.

If desired, you can also use a safe commercial repellent or insecticide on a regular basis to keep your bug populations under control.


There are many things you can do to safely get rid of barn swallows and keep them from coming back. These methods include using sight and sound deterrents, barriers and nets, bird spikes, and insect removal.

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