Reproductive Success of Building-nesting Barn Swallows Along the Sh 24 Corridor

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biological Sciences

Date of Award

Spring 2017


Barn swallows (Hirundo rustica) are known for using manmade structures such as buildings, bridges, and culverts as nesting sites. However, barn swallow colony attendance and reproductive success under bridges and culverts has shown a decline in northeastern Texas, apparently in response to the recent expansion of cave swallows (Petrochenlidon fulva) into the area. Nonetheless, despite the marked decline in barn swallows nesting under bridges and in culverts, barn swallows are still common in the area and may now be relying more on nesting on buildings. This research investigated the reproductive success of barn swallows nesting on buildings to determine how well these birds are doing. The reproductive success of barn swallows nesting on buildings was comparable to barn swallows nesting under bridges without cave swallows and to barn swallows nesting on buildings in other parts of their geographic distribution. However, there is a trade-off to nesting on buildings in that predation is higher. Despite this, barn swallows are likely to persist in this system because nesting on buildings enables barn swallows to avoid infestations of swallow bugs and competition with cave swallows. However, barn swallows and cave swallows will likely only coexist in this system if they continue to stratify nesting substrate among the two species.


Jeffrey Kopachena

Subject Categories

Biology | Life Sciences