How to Get Rid of Birds

Two Parts:Removing BirdsRepelling Birds

Birds can be beautiful majestic creatures. Or they can drive your crazy by destroying your garden, damaging your home, leaving corrosive droppings, and being downright pesky. Many people take to killing birds, but there are plenty of easier, more effective ways to rid yourself of a major bird problem. Birds may never disappear completely from your property, but you can remove and repel most pesky birds and their bothersome behaviors.

Part 1
Removing Birds

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    Identify the type of bird. Some birds may be easy to identify, but if you're unsure you need to find out what it is in order to determine if it's protected by law. Some counties and states are very strict in their protection of local animal species.
    • In order to research what kind of bird is plaguing you, make note of its general shape or silhouette, color and behavior.
    • Sparrows, starlings, and pigeons aren't protected by state or federal law, although local ordinances may protect them.[1]
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    Determine if you can remove the birds. Once you know what kind of bird you're dealing with, check local laws to see if you can remove the nests.
    • House Finches, Mourning Doves, American Robins, Carolina Wrens, and Barn Swallows are all protected by law, so if you see a nest you have to leave it alone. They usually nest for 2 weeks before the eggs hatch and then stick around another 2 weeks once they've hatched. Then you can go in and remove the old nest.
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    Remove any nests. If legally allowed, removing the nest will signal to the bird that the habitat is hostile. Clean the area with a heavy-duty disinfectant after you take the nest away.
    • You may need to do this repeatedly. For example, if a Sparrow rebuilds its nest, you should knock it out as soon as you can. It may try to rebuild, but if you catch it early enough, the bird may give up and move on.
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    Discover what is attracting the birds. It will be a lot easier to remove and keep the birds away if you figure out why they're coming onto your property in the first place. While there might be some things you can't change, there are several things you can modify to make your home inhospitable to pesky birds.
    • Again, it's useful to know what kind of bird you're dealing with. You may learn that certain birds are attracted or repelled by certain things. For example, crows are alarmed by the distress call of other crows. Using a sound device that plays these calls might be enough to frighten them away.
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    Remove any water sources. If you have a bird bath, removing it will make it harder for the birds to make homes in your yard. If you don't have a bird bath, check to see if you have any areas of standing water or places where rainwater collects. Remove these sources as well.
    • Ultimately, you're trying to make it so difficult for the birds to live in your yard that they go somewhere else instead.

Part 2
Repelling Birds

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    Install a perch repellent. Place rows of bird spikes on ledges and window sills. The sharp vertical points will deter birds from landing. These should be simple to install and require little maintenance. If you notice leaves or debris getting stuck between the spikes, you'll need to clean them out. [2]
    • If you live in a congested city and notice a pigeon problem around your house, install bird spikes around the perimeter of your roof, in addition to window sills and overhangs.
    • Bird spikes may not deter smaller birds, such as Starlings, from perching in between the spikes.
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    Set up visual repellents. Plastic predators can be placed around the yard to frighten birds. While this has the advantage of being a cheap non-toxic repellent, it does lose effectiveness as birds can become used to them.
    • Try using plastic owls, snakes, coyotes, or swans depending on what kind of bird is bothering you. You must move them frequently or else the bird will recognize they are artificial.[3]
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    Hang flashy strips of aluminum foil or metal. Several birds, especially woodpeckers, are easily frightened by shiny objects. Hang long pieces of aluminum foil where woodpeckers gather. These work well when suspended from trees. A breeze will make the strips move and flash.
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    Use a sound device. Specifically, use a machine that plays the distress call of the type of bird you'd like to get rid of. Birds naturally warn each other of danger, so the birds should leave when they hear the sounds.[4]
    • Birds are good at distinguishing between real distress calls and recorded ones, so do your research on sound device companies. Look for one with proven results and testimonials from people who have successfully used the device.
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    Block up any roosting or nesting spots. Look for small spaces around your home or in walls around your yard where birds might nest. Use caulk, metal wool, glass, wood, or wire mesh to seal and cover any holes over 1/2".[5]
    • You can also use netting to cover undersides of rafters. This will also keep them from roosting. Netting is also handy for wrapping any fruit trees that the birds eat from. This will make it harder for them to establish themselves in your yard.[6]


  • Trapping and releasing birds is incredibly ineffectual. After trapping the birds, be sure to drive them far away from your house before releasing them. There's no guarantee that they won't return to your house, despite your efforts.[7]
  • Understand that using chemicals with birds can be dangerous. Birds are usually big players in any local ecosystem--even the most urban environments. So when you poison a bird, you are actually poisoning a whole hoard of local animals and very likely, your water system, too.
  • Avoid using a sticky glue perch repellent. The bird's skin and feathers can become sticky which may create lingering problems for it.

Article Info

Categories: Birds