House Grail is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

How to Keep Birds From Building Nests in Unwanted Places: 8 Humane Ways

birds nest in the roof

It can be fun to bring colorful birds to your house using a feeder or bird bath, especially if you have children or pets. However, too many birds can be a nuisance, especially if you did not invite them. If birds are making a mess of your property and you need a humane way to get rid of them, you’ve come to the right place. Here are several methods that you can use to help keep invasive birds from nesting on your property without harming them, so you can get back to enjoying your home.

garden flower divider

The 8 Humane Ways of Keeping Birds From Building Nests in Unwanted Places

1. Clean Up Yard Debris

Tools: Garbage bags, rake
Difficulty: Easy

Birds will collect dried leaves, twigs, and other debris to build their nests, and if you have large amounts of these materials on your property, you can expect them to come and collect. Birds will also use any clutter in the yard for protection from predators, so a messy yard can be quite inviting to any bird species. Using a rake to collect the dead leaves and twigs in your yard and disposing of them can help reduce the bird population.

Organizing your yard to reduce clutter can also help make the birds feel more exposed to predators, which might convince them to move to another location.

2. Remove Food Sources

bird feeders
Photo Credit By: nickfish03, Pixabay
Tools: Garbage bags
Difficulty: Easy

One easy way to reduce the bird population on your property is to remove any sources of food around. Most birds have a diet that consists of small insects, like worms and beetles, along with grasses, seeds, nuts, and fruits.

Removing feeders will be an obvious choice, but other plants on your property may also produce fruit or berries that the birds might want as food. You will need to remove any food as soon as you see it, even raking up any that falls on the ground. You may need to consider removing unnecessary trees or shrubs and even bypass the garden this year if the birds are especially prevalent. You can also use screens to cover your plants.

3. Make a DIY Bird Repellant

Tools: Chili peppers, vinegar, water
Difficulty: Easy

An inexpensive way to keep birds off your property is to use a bird repellent, and there are a few that you can make using ingredients that you might already have. For example, most birds don’t like the scent of citrus, so simmering orange or lemon peels in hot water can create a repellant that you can spray around your property to help keep the birds away. Another great option is to create a spray using crushed chili peppers, vinegar, and water.

4. Use a Commercial Repellant

man installing bird spikes
Photo Credit By; Chemari, Shutterstock
Tools: Bird spikes, tacky paper, glaze
Difficulty: Moderate

There are quite a few effective commercial bird repellants that you can purchase if you have the budget. Bird spikes are among the best choices. You apply these spikes to any ledges where birds tend to land, and while they look scary, birds won’t get hurt. The biggest downside of bird spikes is that it can be dangerous to install them, as many birds perch in areas high above the ground. Other, similar options are tacky paper that birds don’t like to step on and glaze that creates a smooth surface too slippery for birds to perch comfortably.

5. Remove Perches

Tools: Bird spikes, LED lighting
Difficulty: Easy

Adding bird spikes to your window sills and other ledges can be effective, but there are likely many other perches on your property. You will need to treat, remove, or replace other popular perches, like light fixtures, ladders for climbing plants, fencing, etc. Even the sides of an above-ground swimming pool can be a magnet for birds. Removing or replacing these perches will make your property much less inviting.

6. Set Up Owl Statues

fake owl in the garden
Photo Credit By: Peter, Pixabay
Tools: Owl statue
Difficulty: Easy

Many birds are afraid of large birds of prey, like hawks, eagles, and owls. Adding an owl statue to your property can effectively reduce the bird population and will likely convince them to nest elsewhere. People with a swimming pool can purchase a pool float that resembles an owl’s eyes, which is also effective.

7. Increase the Number of Reflective Surfaces

Tools: Mirrors, pinwheel, wind chimes, flash tape
Difficulty: Easy

Most birds will avoid reflective surfaces, so adding them to your property can greatly reduce the number of birds that you see. Add mirrors or any shiny surfaces for great results. Windchimes and pinwheels also work well, and their movement increases their effectiveness.

8. Use Dogs and Cats

french bulldog sitting in fake grass
Image Credit: Kittibowornphatnon, Shutterstock
Tools: Family pets
Difficulty: Easy

Family pets can be a great bird deterrent. Dogs make quite a bit of noise, which will scare away the birds, and cats will create a hostile environment that is likely to convince birds to move to another location. The downside to this option is that a continuously barking dog is likely to bother your neighbors, and the cat may kill the birds, which is inhumane. Birds can also transfer parasites to your pet if they catch one.

trees & plants divider

Tips & Tricks:
  • Keep all the trees on your property trimmed to avoid creating perches.
  • If you want to keep your feeder, move it farther from the house for fewer problems.
  • Seal any holes in your home that birds might use to get in.
  • Make sure there are screens on all windows, especially in the attic.
  • Look for a feeder in a neighbor’s yard, and ask them to remove it.

garden flower divider


Using a commercial repellant and adding bird spikes and multiple shiny surfaces can help convince birds to move to another property without harming them. Removing all food sources and organizing the yard will also help. Keep all your trees trimmed and cover the plants in your garden with screening until the birds move on.

Featured Image Credit: Piqsels


Related posts

OUR categories

Project ideas

Hand & power tools