Birds are perhaps the most commonly seen wildlife in urban areas. They keep insect numbers down, bring us their birdsong, and are often kept as pets. However, if they start roosting in your home, they can be a problem, doing damage and causing a mess.

Thankfully, there are ways to deal with them, including exclusion methods, repellents, trapping (subject to state law), and hiring bird control experts.

One of the most significant difficulties can be the legalities regarding bird removal and the different methods permitted. Some species are protected, so check with your local state before taking on any DIY bird control.

EXCLUSION

When installing exclusion measures, it’s recommended that you place them anywhere the birds can land, not just the areas they are roosting on currently. Otherwise, they will shift from one ledge to the next unprotected one.  

There are a few different products available for deterring birds from roosting on your home:

  • Bird spikes – strips of plastic or metal with protruding spikes that make it impossible or uncomfortable for the bird to land on
  • Netting – hanging large pieces of netting up along the side of the building to prevent birds from accessing a larger area
  • Shock tracks – an electrified wire that shocks any birds attempting to land on it

GETTING A BIRD OUT OF THE ATTIC

Getting birds out of the attic is a task best handled by a professional. It often requires more than just removing the adult birds, as there may be eggs or chicks in the nest. Relocating an active nest isn’t easy, and is even illegal for some migratory bird species.

If you want to try and do it yourself:

  1. Locate the nest and ensure that it’s empty (if it isn’t, contact professionals; don’t try to remove it yourself).
  2. Inspect the building to find entry points.
  3. Place an exclusion door over the main entrance, use mesh, netting, or a more substantial barrier to seal the rest. 
  4. Climb into the attic to remove any empty nests and clean the area thoroughly. Wearing a mask and gloves is highly recommended, especially if the birds have been there a while.

TRAPPING

The trapping of birds is subject to state or even federal laws, depending on the species, as some are protected by the federal migratory bird protection act.

There are a variety of traps available, depending on the size of the bird you’re trying to catch:

  • Larsen trap
  • Ladder trap
  • Net traps
  • Sparrow trap
  • Starling trap

Bait the trap with birdseed and set it somewhere the birds regularly visit, generally off the ground so that the bird will feel safe from predators.

If you do trap the birds, you need to have a plan for what to do with them: release or euthanize them. Depending on the bird and the state laws, killing the bird could be illegal. If you can kill it, make sure that you do so humanely.