Tag Archives: bird habitat

Dear Guru: Pole Barn Bird Aviary?

Welcome to Ask the Pole Barn Guru – where you can ask questions about building topics, with answers posted on Mondays.  With many questions to answer, please be patient to watch for yours to come up on a future Monday or Saturday segment.  If you want a quick answer, please be sure to answer with a “reply-able” email address.

Email all questions to: PoleBarnGuru@HansenPoleBuildings.com

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Barn Swallows. While most people dislike their nests, I like their bug eating and air acrobatics. A post on an Ag. BBS mentioned Canada building pole nesting barns to provide replacement habitat due to the demolition of old bank barns.

I have seen many a sofit and sliding door track ruined by English Starlings. Sparrows frequently get into big box stores.   How can a builder design in or out Bird habitat? CHILLING IN CHAFFEE

DEAR CHILLING: We’ve done pole buildings which have been specifically designed as aviaries – they make a very affordable design solution for bird aficionados. Bird aviary netting can be added on the inside to control the areas of the building where birds are wanted.

As for how to keep birds out…

Design to keep them outside to begin with. Sliding doors (or any other door which does not seal tight) are an invitation for birds to come share the space.

I live in the serious woods – it is the middle of a forest. My shop has three overhead doors, three entry doors and a sliding patio door. In nearly 20 years I have had exactly one bird inside – the bird who pecked a hole through the cedar siding and into the attic!

If your pole building will be unfinished on the inside, and you tend to leave doors open, the potential for birds living inside can be reduced by designing to minimize nesting locations.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU:I have a pole barn built in the late 70s. The paint has worn off the walls partially and the roof totally. What kind of paint and how should I prepare the surface? I was told Valspar Reserve would be a good choice of paint. BARN LADY IN BYRON

DEAR BARN LADY: The paint systems of 40 years ago were just nothing like what is available today. What your 1970’s era pole barn had on it was probably

polyester paint:


You can repaint steel. Here is information on preparation:


As to what to use for paint, think of your building as being an automobile – any high quality automotive paint would be a possibility. I am not sure if Valspar® Reserve™ will work on steel, from the research I have done, it is unclear.

In my humble opinion only – the best route to go would be to replace the roofing and siding with new painted steel, preferably with a PVDF. This will be your longest lasting paint system. Read about it here: