Site Set up (for new sites): 

  1. The first step is to choose your site. Choose an open location where you will be able to access all the boxes in a reasonable amount of time. Tree Swallows prefer expansive open areas, near water if possible. Meadows, marshes, and agricultural fields are all good options.
  2. Next build your boxes. Be sure to build the boxes according to THESE NEST BOX PLANS
  3. Now it’s time to install your nest boxes. We recommend placing boxes 4-6 feet off the ground on fence posts, T posts, or buildings. Make sure you will be able to safely access and see into the boxes. Tree Swallows like to be out in the open, so avoid placing boxes near trees, shrubs, or thick cover. Spacing will vary depending on the food and habitat available. We recommend setting them about 10 meters (30-35 feet) apart.
  4. Number your boxes and create a site map. Use a program like google Earth if possible.

**Make sure your site is ready well before the birds arrive!

**You may need to make adjustments to these guidelines based on the specific conditions at your site. For example, if you live an area where bears are common, you will need to place your boxes much higher and out of reach of curious bears.

**Be cautious about placing boxes on fence lines. Predators such as ermines and squirrels can easily climb and travel on fences. They will prey on nestlings and eggs given the opportunity.


Map of 2017 Alaska Swallow Monitoring Network sites, and sites joining the network in 2018: