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Access for swallows in garage.

We have some shallow attic space above the ceiling in our garage which swallows have used to nest over many years. 
We used to keep the door open but sadly this is no longer possible due to rats making themselves at home and causing damage to stuff.
I have read about the possibility of making an access hole for them and wondered if anyone else had done this?
I am undecided if making a hole in the blocks would be better or if a little hole in the wooden door would work if it could be done neatly - perhaps by making a flap that could be shut up after they have flown?
Any ideas or experience of similar would be welcome. Thanks. 


  • LeadFarmerLeadFarmer Posts: 1,290
    Can you split the door across the middle and make it a stable door, then you could leave the top half open?
  • FireFire Posts: 17,116
    edited January 2022
    You could make holes and perhaps put up swallow nests, if there are eaves or an overhang. There are lots of different models out there. 
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 82,726
    The problem is the need for the right type of access to the garage … swallows swoop under eaves, they don’t pop through holes. 

    Perhaps @alfharris8  if we could see a photograph of the garage doorway and door/s we might be able to come up with a workable solution? 

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 28,794
    We have swallows and house martins nesting in our ruin - the original farmhouse here.  All the window panes have long since gone but a previous owner had put planks of wood or sheets of clear plastic across them.  I have replaced these with sheets of clear polyurethane cut to leave the top section open for swooping.

    There is loads of space for loads of nests but we found one pair had snuck into our garden shed and made a nest last spring so we had to leave the shed door open all summer.   We'll probably end up cutting a wingspread wide gap in the top corner of teh door and putting a "poo" shelf under the beam to reduce mess.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • I don't seem to be able to upload photos at present. Nothing pops up when I press select files, no doubt something stupid I have/haven't done. 
    Anyway the garage is quite a large with two up and over doors and there is an open square in the ceiling (like an attic hatch) that leads to the roof space where the swallows have previously nested. 

  • Two photos of garage.
    One of the exterior and the other of the hole in the ceiling (think it might need to be turned around to view it properly - stupid idiot that I am.
    The comments re swooping make total sense and they had plenty of room for manoeuvre when the door was open. 
    Hate to think of them turning up and having nowhere to go.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 82,726
    edited January 2022
    Smart garage :) ... do you have the resources to get an ingenious builder-type to cut a window in that gable end ... you could then have a 'shutter' that could be fixed open during spring and summer?

    Otherwise I'd leave a garage door open and fix some sort of 'anti-vermin barricade' across the bottom half of it. 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • FireFire Posts: 17,116
    edited January 2022
    I'm not sure which way around the photo was supposed to go. You are not an idiot - there is a long standing glitch on the forum in loading photos. It's not you.

    Rats are excellent climbers. I would think that any gap you leave risks rats coming in, esp if they are nesting and determined. You could experiment and see what happens. Consider the nest box option ofr under the eaves....
  • raisingirlraisingirl Posts: 6,428
    It might be better to put some swallow nest boxes on the outside, under the fascia. You can paint them to match the render. 
    We've had swallows nesting in our garage the last couple of years. We don't leave the door open for them, they find their own ways in, but ours is a lot less smart than yours, so much more opportunity for a determined bird to find a few gaps. They do fly in and out of the door when it's open and they get very grumpy with us walking in and out but seem determined it's their place not ours, so they just swoop at us, rather than decamping. We've almost got used to ducking as we go through the door - they do still make me jump though 
    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
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