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​​How To Stop Birds Nesting In Your Roof

8 Ways To Prevent Birds Nesting In Eaves And Gutters

Lots of birds these days rely on roof spaces for their nests. On the same note, many of them are species of concern due to high conservation efforts. The bird wildlife population has declined over the past few decades. While a common bird like the crow can find lots of places to nest and it is less likely to go on your roof – crows would rather choose trees, other birds can easily rely on your structure for a bit of warmth and protection.

Different countries have different rules, but birds like starlings, swifts or house sparrows are in decline. Learning how to stop birds nesting on the roof also implies becoming familiar with certain species, as well as the legal requirements about them. For instance, some species – like swifts – tend to find holes on roofs when they inhabit urban areas. Other than that, they find holes in cliffs or walls. They almost never land on the ground.

Swallows build nests out of the mud and they tend to go under eaves. Learning how to stop birds nesting in eaves is just as important then. These nests look like small bowls. House martins are similar – they use muddy materials, but their nests are more enclosed and provide more protection. Their nests also feature small holes to get in and out.

From a moral point of view, birds should be allowed to nest if they do not cause any conflict. The roof is critical for them because it provides protection against elements. On the other hand, birds can also cause a series of problems. Most laws protect disturbing or destroying active nests of wild birds. If they are already settled in, the best you can do is wait until the family is gone. Prevention is, therefore, the best move forward.

A bird nest in eaves

Stop birds nesting in eaves – Potential issues with nests

In theory, seeing a young family of birds nesting on your roof could be exciting. Just the sight of it alone lets you enjoy the beautiful wildlife. But at the same time, it may cause a series of issues in the long run. Most people overlook the roof, yet this part of your home can lead to expensive repairs and replacements if you fail to look after it.

Now, birds tend to have highly acidic droppings. These droppings on your car can ruin the paint and leave permanent stains, even if you remove them after a few hours only. They simply corrode the paint. On the other hand, these droppings can be just as harmful on your porch or over your driveway. Not only are they smelly, but they also encourage the growth of algae and moss. When these things target the roof of your home, they will inevitably cause long-term damage.

Things can go even further. Nest materials are likely to come off every now and then, causing blockages. Your gutters and drains might get clogged, causing leaks and water buildups. They can also get into ventilation areas, leading to the formation of mold. Apart from nest materials, feathers and food can lead to the exact same problems.

A bird deterrent represents the optimal solution when learning how to stop birds nesting in gutters and the roof, but prevention is more important. Now, what should you know in terms of prevention?

Birds in eaves – Keep birds out

Learning how to stop birds nesting in eaves is more like preventing them from doing it. Once in there, you still have some options, but preventing this issue is the way to go.

Make sure you check the building every winter. Do it between November and February. You can also seek help from a professional roofer – ask for a thorough inspection. You can find potential holes or gaps. They must be cleaned, then sealed accordingly. The general idea is to avoid leaving room for birds to settle in. If some birds are already there, you should avoid the problem. Also, perform this procedure in the morning, when birds are likely to be out – you do not want to accidentally trap a bird in.

If birds are there, perform small checks every now and then to ensure they are all gone.

If you are not sure about birds and you suspect some of them may still be there, come up with a wire mesh over the entrance of the gap. This way, you can at least see them and determine whether or not you have to wait some more. Make a permanent fix only when all the birds are gone.

It might be more challenging to get the job done on large commercial properties, so you will definitely need a professional for this job.

A bird nest in close up

How to stop birds from nesting in your roof

Learning how to stop birds nesting on the roof is not that difficult. They usually do it during the nesting season. They want a warm and safe home. Different species have different nesting times, so there is no such thing as a general rule that applies to all of them. All in all, once a bird manages to establish its home on your roof, feathers, dropping and other materials will also make a home on your roof.

The habitat of these beautiful creatures has seriously changed over the past decades – homes, roads, warehouses and so on. Birds will inevitably try to find a good solution – an alternative to their trees. They need high places with easy access to food and water. They want protection against predators too – what could be better than a roof? Now, what options do you have to prevent it?

Chimney caps

If the chimney is not in use, birds will find it perfect for nests. Now, you are going to solve two problems with one solution. First, you can keep birds away from the chimney. Second, you can get rid of that bulky and ugly chimney. A beautiful cover will prevent birds from going in, but it will also prevent the damp buildup.

Chimney caps are not very expensive and can be installed by yourself if you have a bit of DIY sense. Otherwise, you can always hire a professional to get the job done within a few hours only.

Eaves guards

Eaves represent a part of your roof that overhangs over the building. It is located between the wall and the actual roof. The areas under these eaves are often left open, so they make excellent shelters for birds looking to nest. Getting such guards will simply close and seal the respective space. Birds will no longer hang around because they cannot get inside – not the right place for a nest, so they will search elsewhere. Get these guards to block the entrance and help you regain control over your eaves.

Deter Them With Predators

Predators represent some of the best choices when not sure how to stop birds nesting in gutters or your roof. You do not always need a living predator. Instead, a fake owl resting on the roof can get the job done. Small birds are afraid of owls because they are predators. Your replica must be as realistic as possible – not just a plain toy, but something with features. Opt for something with shiny eyes, as birds are afraid of shiny objects too.

There are more decoys you can use to stop starlings nesting on the roof or chase other birds away. For example, you could get an eagle or a hawk, as well as a snake. Birds fear predators, even if they have never encountered them. It is an instinct and they will simply refuse to nest somewhere that might look dangerous for their young. Adding some noises – such as an ultrasonic device – can help in the process.

Comb fillers to prevent any bird nest

Starling nesting on roof has their own issues – quite common among small birds, including swallows or starlings. Their favorite options include cavities and holes. They must be small and tight. Such birds will manage to get into the roof through these small gaps, whether they are by the trims or tiles. Comb fillers are ideal from this point of view. They work like tile guards and they come in strips. They block all the openings, deterring small birds from nesting in the roof.

Bird spikes and bird netting on roofs prevent birds from landing

You do not have to be a genius to know that bird spikes always work when trying to figure out how to stop birds nesting in eaves. Bird spikes might be a bit controversial because they sound harmful to birds. Spikes are actually humane and will not hurt them. They will simply deter birds from landing on the roof, tiles or shingles. Once they see those spikes, they will simply not land, so there are no risks at all.

Other pest control products are available, but the Bird B Gone UN-342 Garden Bird Netting Mesh is widely recognized as the best bird netting product to prevent birds landing and nesting on in eaves. Netting has proven to be a good solution to the bird nesting problem on roofs. This product will help you prevent any damage to your roofing by a birds nest. Netting is also an excellent way to protect your solar panels from birds.

Apart from considering these prevention techniques, it is worth noting that most birds tend to nest between April and the end of May. Migrating birds may also return later on, just before the summertime kicks in, so you should try to sort the issue before that to avoid any damage to your home.

A bird nest in close up

Birds nesting in gutters and roof already – Any options?

Assuming that you have failed to prevent birds from nesting, whether you started too late or a nest is already there. What are your options then? If birds have already landed and nested anywhere around your roof, you need to consider the legal requirements first. Many birds are protected by the law. From this point of view, it might be an offense to ruin an active nest. You may also be prosecuted if you prevent birds from returning to chicks.

If birds are already nesting in your roof, the most humane (and often legal) solution is to wait. By the wintertime, birds may already be gone, as they need to go to warmer areas. Make sure every bird is gone before taking any action. You can then seal all the entries. Remove all the mess, such as feathers, food leftovers or moss before taking action.

There is not much to worry about either. Birds are less likely to damage the roof over a year or two. Such issues occur in the long run and only if the problem is unattended for many years. Other than that, you might want to know that birds like swallows or sparrows tend to migrate during the wintertime and will return the next year. Pigeons are different – they will stick to their nests throughout the wintertime as well.

If birds are already nesting, you can still figure out a way out. Simply set up a warm and cozy nest similar to the natural one in the garden. Some birds may simply go there. If it is attractive enough, they will leave the one they made themselves and they will choose the alternative instead, leaving your roof safe.


As a short final conclusion, learning how to stop birds nesting on the roof is not that difficult. Prevention is the key. If birds are already there, the job is more challenging, but you still have options. The main rule is to avoid destroying or damaging an active nest. You need to allow the young chicks to leave the nest before taking any action.

If you know, hear or see birds nesting, simply avoid doing any work at all. Also, if you discover a nest around your roof, leave it alone and monitor it to see if there is anything going on.

If a nest does need to be moved, you might need a special license. You will not be able to remove it yourself. Instead, you need an authorized agency to get the job done. Most birds will have to be moved in a safe manner to better places, but such actions are usually permitted only if they actually preserve public health.

At times, you may not be able to do anything, but wait. This is why most experts recommend waiting until all birds are gone and sealing every single gap after. Perform regular checkups once a year to ensure there are no attempts of nesting and gaps are still intact.

If you have a persisting problem, a few artificial nests in the garden or the backyard might help. They make great alternatives for birds, as they would rather settle in a ready-made nest than building everything from scratch themselves.​

Written by James Laverne

April 16th 2021

Avatar author James Laverne

Hi, I'm James! With over 25 years of anti-pest experience, I am writing this blog to help you birdproof your home. Get in touch if you have any questions. Happy reading!


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