In "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," having birds and other woodland creatures around the house seems like a great time. Who wouldn't want musical accompaniment and dozens of adorable little helpers while cleaning? But the real truth is that having birds around your home can be annoying and potentially damaging. Noise complaints, mess and destruction of your property are all inconveniences that can result from having a few too many feathered friends around your humble abode. Luckily, there are ways to get rid of birds without harming them.
Types of Birds that Gather Around Homes
Any bird can become a home problem, but the most frequent culprits are pigeons, starlings and house sparrows. Birds can cause numerous home problems such as drilling holes into a house frame (woodpeckers), building nests in undesirable places, leaving droppings or feathers and consuming or contaminating crops. Black birds, woodpeckers and other waterfowls are also typical bird pests.
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Where Do Birds Like to Nest?
Different birds prosper in different home environments. Pigeons and house sparrows thrive off of scraps and frequent more urban home environments. Birds can also make themselves at home in vents, gutters on rooftops and in trees near houses. Certain birds also enjoy making their homes in chimneys, underneath houses and in light fixtures.
How to Get Rid of Birds
Getting rid of them can be complicated. Some birds are part of protected species lists and, depending on where you live, if a bird has built a nest and laid eggs (especially if the bird is native to your area), it may be illegal for you to disturb its nest. Your best bet for getting rid of the birds without breaking any laws is to wait until a bird's young have hatched and left the nest, which is usually two to three weeks after hatching. Once you've ensured that you can remove the birds without running into a legal landmine, there are a few ways to safely and humanely get birds away from your home:
- Make loud noises to drive birds away from your home. For example, use the blast of a propane cannon, which will frighten them.
- Seal openings, ledges and crevices to deter birds from nesting in your home.
- Use materials to slant a level surface, since birds tend to nest in more flat surfaces.
- Have your pets chase them away, without harming them.
- No pets? No problem. Unless it's an eyesore, or it's contrary to your HOA restrictions, a scarecrow or owl effigy can dissuade birds from congregating in your yard. You'll probably have to move these deterrents to different places in the landscape for ongoing effectiveness, however,
- Use netting to block birds from entering your home or nesting on your roof.
- If you want to drive away a hawk that's begun frequenting your yard from preying on your songbirds, a blast of water from a high-powered water gun may do the trick. But you'll have to be vigilant; a single jet of water won't likely deter hawks permanently. It will take several blasts of water and a lot of perseverance to get rid of the hawk.
Although birds can be fun to observe and study, they can quickly become a disturbance. But, it is also not necessary to harm them to keep them off your property. If you use a bit of patience and creativity, you can safely and kindly rid your home of birds and, once again, have peace and quiet.