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Keeping Swallows Away During Bridge Repairs
How much does it cost to keep swallows away from bridges and other infrastructures during repair? Much less than $372,750. That's how much a Kansas contractor was fined in January 2014 after destroying cliff swallow eggs and 1,491 nests during a bridge repair project. Migratory Bird Treaty Act. In addition, one of the firm's employees was sentenced to three months probation and 10 hours community service.
Thankfully, most contractors choose to avoid disturbing nesting swallows. A construction crew in Washington state found a single nest and had to delay bridge repairs until the swallow chicks were old enough to fly away. Lakewood Bridge Project In Oklahoma, the swallows pose such a problem that the Oklahoma Department of Transportation commissioned a research project to find the best ways of working around the swallows. Oklahome Transportaion Project In its request for proposal, ODOT notes: "...the nesting season runs from April 1 to August 31. As this is prime construction season, projects schedules can be impacted in order to avoid the nesting season, which increases project costs to the Department."
All species of swallows are protected in the U.S. under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which makes disturbing nests of the 1,026 birds named under the Act illegal-whether they are destroyed intentionally or not. This is particularly difficult for any companies planning bridge repairs or other infrastructure projects. Once the swallows move in, there is no way to get rid of them until they fly off themselves, which could be up to four months. For many areas in the country, that's most of the construction season.
The best way to avoid the problem is to stop the swallows from nesting in the first place.
Hot Foot, the bird deterrent experts, has the solution. Hot Foot's InvisiNet exclusion netting system is designed specifically to keep out smaller nesting birds such as swallows. These birds like the underside of bridges for the protection they give from the sun and weather. Swallow nests are made of mud and they prefer a 90-degree corner to build their nests up and out. Hot Foot InvisiNet creates a barrier between the birds and the small nooks and crannies where they nest.
Don't be fooled though. Some netting simply isn't designed to keep swallows out, leading to tragic results. InvisiNet comes in multiple sizes including the ultra-fine 3/4 inch mesh so that swallows don't get caught up in the netting-ever. Hot Foot InvisiNet keeps swallows away safely and effectively.
Installation is easy-especially for anyone in the contracting business-though Hot Foot provides step-by-step instructions InvisiNet Installation Instructions page]. It also takes some advanced preparation to ensure you get the InvisiNet up before the swallows come. For any upcoming summer projects, Hot Foot recommends that you start installing InvisiNet in late winter/early spring before the swallows arrive on their yearly migration. Depending on the architecture of the bridge, you may wish to run netting to keep them out of the corners, or cover the whole underside of the bridge for maximum protection.
Hot Foot can help. We provide all the necessary hardware to mount the InvisiNet to any surface. Plus, we can help you do materials calculations and costings, and even give you tips to help protect your bridge project or any other structure.
Then, once the swallows have moved on to nest elsewhere, you'll have the all-clear to start your repairs when you're ready.
Call us at (800) 533-8421 and we will even help you do a materials assessment so you know exactly what you need before you start installing.
Read a case study about how Hot Foot helped create a safe, effective exclusion system for keeping swallows away from bridges in Southern California during construction season. Case Study-Swallow-Proofing the Bridges of Southern California