How to Get Rid of Martin Birds

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Things You'll Need

  • Bird-proof netting or 1-inch chicken wire

  • Heavy-duty staples

  • Aluminum foil

  • Small spikes

  • 1 tbsp. crushed red pepper

  • ¼ cup distilled white vinegar

  • Plastic spray bottle

Many people enjoy watching martins, but only from a distance.

The martin is a type of swallow known for graceful flight patterns and aerial acrobatics. Each spring, martins migrate north in search of nesting sites. While many find suitable homes in the great outdoors, others will take up residence in or near houses, barns and buildings. Others will follow in droves, making a noisy mess of your once peaceful abode. There are a few simple steps you can take to discourage martins and keep them from nesting near your home.


Step 1

Check door stoops, window jambs, light fixtures, eves, overhangs, barns, garages and nearby trees for nests. Remove the nest if it is empty, but make a note of the location since martins will try to return to an old nest. If there are eggs present or young birds, you must leave them and the nest alone. Martins are protected by law and you cannot deliberately harm one.

Step 2

Drape the area the nest was in with bird-proof mesh netting or 1-inch chicken wire. Smooth out any wrinkles and secure the edges with heavy-duty staples or small nails.

Step 3

Wrap aluminum foil around any areas where martins are not wanted. When the sunlight strikes the foil, the resulting flash will scare away the martins. The smooth surface of the foil will also prevent the nesting materials from sticking to nearby surfaces.


Step 4

Install small spikes around window sills and ledges to discourage roosting. Strips of spikes can be purchased at garden centers or through pest control companies. Glue the foot-long lengths of spikes to flat areas or attach them to wood with small screws. The spikes make it impossible for the martins to land and rest comfortably.

Step 5

Combine 1 tbsp. crushed red pepper, ¼ cup distilled white vinegar and 2 qts of water. Mix it until the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Transfer this bird repellent solution to a plastic spray bottle and use it to coat the leaves and branches of any trees or shrubs the martins visit. Apply the spray at least once every two weeks.



Lisa Parris

Lisa Parris is a writer and former features editor of "The Caldwell County News." Her work has also appeared in the "Journal of Comparative Parasitology," "The Monterey County Herald" and "The Richmond Daily News." In 2012, Parris was honored with awards from the Missouri Press Association for best feature story, best feature series and best humor series.