After spending years unsuccessfully trying to attract barn swallows to various structures placed up under roof overhangs, a swallow recently built a nest on our front porch. In the process it made a big mess of mud everywhere but we are happy to encourage this female to raise a family.
The nest of barn swallows is built of pellets of mud with some embedded grasses. You can see in one photo how the bird attempted to stick the nest on a number of locations before settling on one successful site. This species breeds throughout most of N America.
The major bane of swallow nests seems to be climbing predators, especially rat snakes which can reach almost any location. Thus barn swallows seem most particular in that they build in the most inaccessible areas. This nest does not fit that criterion except that the closeness to humans may inhibit snake predation. Yet I found a large rat snake in a bush 10 feet from this the area of this nest recently. So luck and timing may determine the success of a nest site.