Barn & Cliff Swallow Nesting Study

Barn Swallow fledglings looking out from nest © Ginger Lane
Barn Swallow young © Ginger Lane
Project Overview

Barn Swallows and Cliff Swallows are both declining in Massachusetts—as well as much of North America.

The reasons could involve declining insect populations due to pesticides; climate change impacts on adult survival; and/or loss of nesting and foraging sites due to changing farming activities.

Although the cause remains uncertain, it's clear that understanding the distribution of local breeding sites is an important conservation goal. 

We need your help to identify sites where Barn and Cliff Swallows are nesting that may not yet be known to biologists! 

How You Can Help

Survey period runs May 20–August 20 

We're asking local birders to identify farm buildings or bridges that may be in use by nesting swallows. If you look at a potential nesting structure and do not observe any swallow activity, that still represents important data we'd like you to report.

This project aims to collect data from across the state of Massachusetts. The survey period will run from May 20–August 20 to reduce potential confusion between observations of nesting and migrating individuals. As always, all nest data is kept strictly within the community of biologists working to conserve these species.