Animals, including birds, are an important part of our ecosystem. Birds perform important functions that help us and our yards. However, birds can also cause problems on our property, including nest building in gutter systems.
The question is, how do you remove birds that are nesting in your gutters. Just as important is how do you stop them from returning. Let’s take a closer look at bird nesting problems and solutions you can consider.
Why Are Bird Nests A Problem?
To begin with, we need to consider why nesting birds are an issue in gutters. Simply put, bird nests clog gutter systems on your home. These clogs prevent water from moving through the system and down the vertical spouts.
Overflowing gutter systems can damage your home’s walls. It can also create problems with roof tiles as well as the panels they are attached to. During winter months, built up water freezes, and these ice dams can warp your gutters and could damage shingles and walls as well.
This damage will continue to damage your property unless they are addressed. Fixing this damage will also cost you a lot of money to repair. Your home’s value will also be affected negatively as potential buyers will be forced to pay for these repairs themselves.
What Birds Nest In Gutters?
The top three birds known to nest in gutters are pigeons, sparrows, and starlings. However, other species like house martins and swifts may also build nests in gutters. Pigeons often create large, bulky nests using twigs and leaves, while sparrows and starlings build compact nests with a variety of materials like grass, feathers, and moss. To prevent birds from nesting in your gutters, consider installing gutter guards, bird spikes, or netting, and regularly inspect and maintain your gutters to ensure they remain clear and functional.
Legal, Health, And Moral Issues Regarding Nest Removal
There are many reasons you might not want to simply move a nest by hand. In many areas, it is illegal to move a nest, especially if it is occupied. Laws can vary, and you may be able to remove nest during certain times of the year.
Those laws are designed to protect birds in order for them to reproduce. It also expresses our moral concerns when it comes to animal rights. Unfortunately, these moral issues can come into conflict when a nest can potentially damage your property.
Another consideration you want to think about is the health hazards that can stem from handling a bird’s nest. Birds are known to transmit diseases that can affect humans. Improper handling of nesting material can endanger you or others. This not only includes the debris of the nest, but it also includes the insects that are attracted to a bird’s home.
How To Remove Bird Nest From Gutters
Removing a bird nest from a gutter can be a delicate task, but with the right approach, you can safely and effectively get the job done. To effectively remove a bird nest from your gutter, follow these steps:
- Assess the situation: Before taking any action, ensure the nest is no longer active. Check for eggs or baby birds, and if present, wait until the birds have fledged to avoid causing harm.
- Prepare your equipment: Gather a ladder, gloves, a small brush, a bucket or bag, and a hose with a spray nozzle. Ensure your ladder is secure and positioned correctly to reach the gutter safely.
- Remove the nest: Wearing gloves, gently remove the nest from the gutter, placing it in the bucket or bag to minimize debris falling on the ground. If the nest is lodged in the downspout, use the hose with the spray nozzle to gently flush it out.
- Clean the gutter: Once the nest is removed, use the small brush to clear away any remaining debris from the gutter and downspout. This will ensure proper water flow and prevent future blockages.
- Dispose of the nest responsibly: Place the nest in a sealed bag and dispose of it in accordance with local regulations.
- Prevent future nesting: Consider installing gutter guards or bird deterrents to discourage birds from nesting in your gutters again.
By following these steps, you can effectively and safely remove a bird nest from your gutter while minimizing harm to the birds and ensuring the continued functionality of your gutter system.
7 Tips For Removing And Preventing Bird Nests In Gutter Systems
1. Remove The Nest By Hand
As mentioned previously, local laws may prevent you from removing a bird’s nest during certain times of the year. This is often the case during the spring and summer when the nests will be occupied by adults as well as hatchlings. Often, during the fall and winter months, you can remove a nest as it will be unoccupied.
If you plan to remove the nest by hand, make sure that you use gloves to help prevent contact with your hands. You should also wear a mask to prevent inhaling dust or mites that can be found in the nesting material. Another consideration would be to hire a professional to relocate the nest from your gutter system.
2. Use Traps to Remove Nesting Birds
Another way you can get rid of a nest is to vacate it by trapping the birds that are using it. Again, you will need to follow legal guidelines when considering this step. Most homeowners will not have the equipment necessary to do this and may want to consider hiring a professional.
If you wish to trap the birds yourself, you can purchase traps designed for birds. To do this, I recommend this live bird trap from Amazon. You’ll need to follow the manufacturer’s directions closely for the best results. One last thing you will need to consider if trapping the birds is where you will relocate them once you’ve trapped them.
3. Use sound devices to remove nesting birds
There are a variety of ultrasonic devices available that will scare birds off of your property. These units produce sound waves that are outside human detection but can be annoying to the birds themselves. The noises will force the birds to abandon the nest and seek shelter elsewhere.
Some audible devices generate noises that can be detected by the human ear. These devices can work but may be less desirable to use on gutters near bedrooms or other areas of the home that are frequently occupied. Ultrasonic devices can also be used to prevent future nesting as well.
4. Scare the birds
An effective way to get rid of birds nesting in gutters and to prevent future nesting, is to place objects near your gutters that will scare them. There are many products available that you can purchase for a reasonable price.
These items will imitate natural predators of the birds or their young. That includes imitation owls and snakes. Devices that move, including large mechanical spiders, are also available to intimidate birds on your property.
5. Install Gutter Guards
Another product that is available for stopping birds from nesting are gutter guards. These products are designed to cover the top of a gutter and will prevent nesting material from blocking the drainage path in your gutter system. They still provide space for water to run through along the roof, so they should not inhibit the functions of your drainage runs.
An added bonus to this type of protection is that it also prevents a large build-up of tree leaves from entering the gutter valley, and can help with your gutter maintenance. Keep in mind, however, that gutter guards will not help you with bird nests that are already in place.
You can read more about the gutter guards that I recommend in my article, The 5 Best Gutter Guards For The Money.
6. Screen Your Gutters
Another product that can help prevent nests from blocking your gutter runs is mesh or screens, like this gutter screen on Amazon. These can be purchased pre-made or you can take a mesh or screen material and make your own. They can be placed over the gutter valleys, preventing a nest from being built in the gutter itself. Much like the gutter guards that you can install over your gutters, except this is a much more economical route to go.
You can leave enough opening along the roof to allow water to run through, or you can cover the gutter completely. If you do cover the gutter run, keep in mind that leaves and other debris may eventually block the holes in the mesh or screen. This system is fairly budget-friendly but it may require more frequent maintenance to keep clean.
7. Place Spikes In Your Gutters
Finally, you may want to place spikes inside of your gutter runs. These spikes can be made from a variety of metals or plastics. The points stick up from the gutter and prevent birds from building nests where they are located.
Many versions of these spike strips are available to buy, like these bird spikes available on Amazon, or you can make your own from wire and nails. Keep in mind that spikes will require extra cleaning so that leaves and debris do not build-up around them during the year.