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Gel keeps swallows off bridge during construction

Cliff swallows - one of many bird species protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act - have adapted to nesting and roosting on bridges. So Montana Department of Transportation biologists weren't too surprised to find abandoned swallow nests on two bridges nominated for rehabilitation - a Yellowstone River bridge in Park County and a Madison River bridge in Gallatin County. Before construction work began and before the swallows returned from their winter habitats, and in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, maintenance crews removed the empty nests. Using a pneumatic caulk-gun, they applied a gel made by Bird-X to all areas of the bridges frequented by cliff swallows. The non-toxic gel made the "landing strips" sticky, like Vaseline, and when the birds returned and approached the bridges, they flew on to new nesting and roosting spots. Once construction was completed and the gel residue removed, the swallows returned and once again colonized the two bridges.
--Apr 25, 2003

Deb Wambach, (406) 444-0461 or

Workers in hydraulic lift remove abandoned swallow nests from underside of Carter's Bridge on Yellowstone River
Montana Department of Transportation photo
Workers remove abandoned swallow nests from Carter's Bridge on Yellowstone River

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On or Near Bridges - Montana
Updated: 12/12/2012
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