Protecting barn swallow nesting colony

Hey y’all! I’m a newbie to this site but I wanted to reach out and see if anyone had any ideas on how I can go about protecting some barn swallow nests in my apartment’s underground parking garage.

Recently the building management has started doing construction on the garage and while it seems like they’ve stopped, they still have not opened it back up for parking so I am unsure if they are going to continue or not.

There are at least a dozen active nests, and while it’s hard to get a count there’s around 25-35 adult individuals. They return to nest here ever year and have done so for at least the 5 years we have been here. I’ve counted 8 confirmed hatchlings in 3 nests and I believe there’s eggs in four others but it’s difficult to get a good luck with the agitated behavior of the adults.

I tried calling Minnesota USFWS back in early June when I first found out about the construction because I know barn swallows are protected under the federal migratory bird treaty act and state law here, and you need permits to do construction when there’s an active nesting site. You have to remove and turn over any young birds or eggs to licensed rehabilitator. Unfortunately I only got their voicemail and have never heard back. I don’t know if any nests have been destroyed as it’s not safe to enter the blocked off area below ground but I have never seen these individuals so agitated before, so I am very concerned.

I’m trying to track the health and behavior of them as much as possible without agitating them, but as nesting season is over soon I’m not sure I’ll be able to do anything if they start construction again. I am certain they don’t have the required permits and did not turn over any eggs or hatchlings.

So, does anyone have any advice on how to proceed if they do start construction again?


I would try the closest Dept of Natural Resources, and County Extension Offices, focusing on the plight of the birds over whether or not proper channels were followed for permits.
Good luck, I hope they make it.

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Unfortunately it looks like they’re about to start construction again, this time directly over three of he occupied nests. Parents are plucking feathers from stress so I’m starting to get concerned. I’m going to try calling USFWS again since when I called DNR they just said to call USFWS and gave me their number.

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Contact bird rescue, to ask for help, at least if they could accept the nests?
Talk to the building contractor about the situation if you can find a willing rescue?
Just tossing out ideas you may have had yourself. It is difficult when there are legal protections in place with no way to get enforcement.

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