Their songs put a smile on your face. Their colors are stunning, their flight awe-inspiring. If you’re like most Americans, you love seeing birds, whether you’re a bona fide part-time bird watcher or you simply put up a feeder so you can see them when you look out your window. What you don’t like is when they’ve nested in an awkward place, like under your awning. Not only do they make a mess and dive bomb you if you walk by, but they keep you from retracting your awning. This spring, before the birds come, try to prevent them from nesting under your awning.
1. Consider a Retractable Model
Birds are attracted to awnings for patios because of the same reasons you are: they provide shelter from the elements and they keep you cool from the blazing sun. Birds also like that they’re out of the reach of predators. In other words, you can’t make an awning completely unattractive to a bird. So upgrade to a retractable model. When you’re not using it, retract it so it sits tightly against your home, discouraging birds from nesting underneath. The longer you leave it extended unattended, the more likely birds are to build nests.
2. Tempt Them Away
As the Wisconsin State Journal reports, a number of birds come back to the same nesting site each year, even if they don’t need the same nest. If you’ve had birds under your awning in the past, you can be fairly certain they’ll come back the next year. Even if they don’t nest in the exact same spot, they’ll nest nearby. Lure the birds to a nearby area by installing a bird house near your patio, but not so close that they consider the patio instead.
3. Use a Plastic Predator
Birds don’t have completely clear vision, but if they see something resembling one of their predators, like a hawk or owl, they’ll steer clear. Put up a plastic model of a bird predator on your porch or the silhouette of one on your sliding glass door. If you spend a lot of time on the porch before they build their nests, you’ll like discourage them from nesting there, too, since birds are wary of people – but once they build the nest, they won’t want to move and may get defensive.
If the birds have already built a nest, get out a step stool and see if there are any eggs inside. If there are no eggs, use a stick to knock down the nest and place crumpled-up wads of aluminum foil in its place so the bird doesn’t come back to build again. Place aluminum foil in other crevices around the patio, too, as the bird may come back and build the nest nearby. If the eggs are already there, let the nest be and give up – moving the nest will kill the babies because the parents won’t return to a nest that’s been tampered with. Next time, discourage birds from nesting there in the first place and enjoy your awning to the fullest in the spring.
About the Author:
Eli Haupt is an ornithologist and a nature blogger.