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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.