Removing the Inconvenient Bird Nest

Shortly after discovering a bird nest being built in your gutters or under your deck, the initial fascination may be replaced with irritation and distress.† Will the nest building cause damage to your home? Will the birds ever leave? If the nest is being built just above your bedroom, the night time flutter might be disruptive to your sleep.† What is the best way to protect a bird’s home while maintaining your own?

Though an inconveniently located bird nest can be a nuisance, remember that birds are not pests, but are part of wildlife.† While your initial impulse might be to just get rid of the nest, the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 makes it illegal to destroy nests with birds or eggs in them.† This means if you find a nest that is active, unless you get a permit to do so (not so easy), you legally have to wait the four to six weeks in which it usually takes young birds to migrate before you can remove the nest.

However, if the nest is under construction, that is the legal and best time to remove it.† You can either do this yourself or contact your local chapter of the National Audubon Society or some other bird or nature conservancy for help with this.† If you want to remove the nest yourself, here are some practical steps you can follow:

  1. Use a secure ladder (if necessary) to view the nest to determine whether or not it is active (contains eggs or birds.)† Know that a protective mama bird might attack you if the nest is active, so be careful.
  2. If the nest is inactive, remove it while wearing protective gloves in order to keep yourself safe from any bacteria or disease the nest may be hosting.
  3. Be sure to remove† the whole nest from the bottom; this may require the use of gardening shears or a pocket knife in order to get out any tangled twigs and materials.
  4. Discard the nest by placing it in a plastic bag and throwing it in a garbage can with a secure lid.

If you notice nests are frequently built in the same spot on your home, you may want to purchase a cat or owl statue near that location.† As they are natural bird predators, they function much as scarecrows do, discouraging roosting where it isnít wanted.

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Roney W.
Past Member about a year ago

I wanna thanks to a great extent for providing such informative and qualitative material therefore often.

Mary Delaney
Mary Delaney3 years ago

Birds are part of life people! They have as much right to be there as you. Leave the poor things alone. You will be sorry one day when the place is over run by insects and weeds etc because you've killed off all the birds that would have eaten them. Nest removal is very short sighted...and cruel.

Leah J.
Leah J.3 years ago

I had two Oriole birds getting ready to nest right next to my doorway, I could not take the nasty crap on my door and walkway, so I took a jar of water and bleach and washed it away before it laid it's eggs. I live in an apartment community so why they chose my unit is beyond me. I have small children and did not want to risk them tracking bacteria, lice, and other diseases they may carry into my home. I am in the process of buying fake owl so they won't come back. Sorry I consider birds as flying rats, so I do not see the beauty in them when they invade my space.

Manny B.
Manny B.3 years ago

The good news is, nearly all bird eggs found in North America and Europe are edible, in all stages of development. Of course chicken eggs are hugely popular to eat, but some other common bird eggs we eat are ostrich, ducks, emu, goose, gull, peacock, pelican, pheasant, quail, and turkey eggs. And the truth is, in a pinch any type will do.

We had three robin nest last year. We collected al the eggs. My 2 year old loved them scrambled!!

Danuta Watola
Danuta Watola3 years ago

Thanks for sharing

Alicia N.
Alicia N.3 years ago

Just leave them ALONE!!!

Birds (any kind ) work really, really hard to make their perfect nests
without any tools so, please Respect their homes

Alicia N.
Alicia N.3 years ago

To Faith:

Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W.3 years ago

thank you

Sue Matheson
Sue Matheson3 years ago


Edvanir L.
Edvanir L.3 years ago

There's a nest under our AC (outside, of course). Every spring time the mother is here with her babies. Sometimes they make so much noise, but I just love to know that they are so close, Once we actually saw the mom teaching one baby to fly. What a moment!!! Even in a big city we still can have some of those.