How to Stop Birds From Nesting On Your Porch

by Michael on March 29, 2011 · 7 comments

One of my favorite things about our house is the huge front porch. Sadly, birds love it as much as I do, and we’ve had a hard time stopping them from nesting out there. After a bit of testing, however, I’ve found a way to keep them from coming back.


At first, we thought that the problem had to do with a flat “underhang” on top of the columns supporting the roof over the porch. This underhang created a nice, sheltered spot for birds to nest, and it was nearly impossible to get rid of them. No matter how many times I knocked down their nests, they’d come back for more.

And oh boy, did they every make a mess… They’d haul in all kinds of mud and grass to make their nest, and then they’d sit up there and poop down the columns. YUCK. Not only was it nasty to look at, but it couldn’t be too healthy to have that amount of bird poop all over our porch.

Our first attempt at stopping them was to create a slanted “cap” for the columns that left the birds without a flat surface to build on. We did this by mitering small pieces of wood to create a sort of half-pyramid that tied into the porch roof above.

Once the wood cap was ready, we nailed it in place, caulked the edges, and slapped on some paint. It looked great, and it worked… For about a week. Unfortunately, the birds eventually figured out that mud would stick to the slanted surface well enough to let them still build a nest.

Next up, we tried small wind chimes that we hung up in the corners of our porch ceiling above their preferred nesting spots. Once again, this worked… For about a week. Unfortunately, the birds eventually figured out how to get behind the chimes without crashing into them, and they also started building nests on top of the the center (non-corner) columns.

Our final (and effective!) trick was to attach small mirrors just above each of the columns to scare the birds away whenever they tried to land up there. This worked surprisingly well – I guess the phrase “bird brains” has a basis in truth! We used small mirrors from the cosmetic aisle, though I’m planning on switching them out for something less conspicuous.

Here’s a shot of a corner post, showing the “pyramid,” wind chimes, and mirror:

corner post

(Yes, I need to get up there and clean off the chimes.)

And here’s a shot of one of the middle posts with its own “pyramid” and mirror:

center post

Note that the mirror in this latter picture is cracked around the edge because it got dropped when we were re-painting. Again, I’m planning on swapping these out for something less conspicuous. Keep in mind, however, that these can’t be seen unless you’re on the porch looking out. And even ugly mirrors are better than poop-covered columns!

Every year around this time the birds come back, and I often see them flying up under the porch roof looking for a place to nest. However, whenever they try to land on top of one of the columns, they inevitably see their own reflection, get tricked into thinking another bird is already up there, and head out in search of unoccupied space.

Oh, and more thing… If you have outdoor ceiling fans on your porch ceiling, and if birds like nesting on them, your best bet is to remove them entirely. I have yet to figure out a good way to keep birds from nesting on the motor housing, or even on the blades themselves. In the end, I decided to swap out our two fans out for flush (ceiling) mounted porch lights.


{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Xavier April 6, 2011 at 3:45 am

I have been using old CDs/DVDs for the same purpose they work good inough. best party is u can hang them any where and if scares away the birds.

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Jack Taylor May 29, 2011 at 2:29 pm

If you have a similar problem with pigeons, my neighbor gave me a solution that he paid an exterminator $300 to do. Apparently, pigeons like to roost at night, and don’t like to fly after dusk. So, when they were roosting, his exterminator came out with a 1.5 liter plastic Coke bottle (although I’m sure a Pepsi bottle would work as well!) with about an inch or so of pebbles in the bottom, attached to a long cord. He would toss that bottle up on his roof where the pigeons were roosting (the pebbles give weight for throwing and also a rattling noise so you don’t have to be too accurate) and disrupt the pigeons, who would fly off. Being pigeons, they would return for 3 or 4 nights, but if you keep doing it, they eventually get fed up and find a quieter roosting spot.

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Tricia July 20, 2012 at 9:11 am

Thanks for the info! I have the exact same columns. The 2nd set of babies finally flew away and I cleaned up the porch Saturday. Three days later I see another bird building a nest. I scared it away and placed a small silver foil bucket from dollar store full of dirt on the column. That is only bc it was all I had in the house. I am headed to the dollar store for mirrors. Maybe those shaped mirrors like my daughter puts on her wall will work? Like you, I do not want to disrupt my view. Thanks

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Lydie September 1, 2012 at 7:45 am

I found an awful mess of pigeons nesting and brooding, even unhatched eggs… This is my summer home so I have been searching for something that doesn’t require intervention on my part during the the rest of the year. Your experience decided me to get some mirrors for my balcony and build a pyramid hat for the shelf that pigeons used for nesting last Spring. Thanks for sharing!

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Katie April 25, 2013 at 11:37 am

I had the same problem and my handyman came up with a great idea. He bought a plastic owl at Home Depot and put it up. No more birds, nests, or poop. Works like a charm. I’ve also heard that some of the downtown buildings have done the same thing to keep the pigeons away.

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julie April 30, 2013 at 2:02 pm

I had birds build their nest just above our front door. Well I couldn’t move nest once babies were in there, so this year I swept off the mud nest 3 times a day to no avail. I just wanted them to move to another location on porch, just not above door! Wasn’t working.
I finally hung fabric with paper clips from eaves and tucked into door, completely hiding area above doorway. After 3 days they have finally found new real estate on the side near my windows, which I’m perfectly happy to share with them & their young!! I’ll take down the fabric once I hear their babies…

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tanya October 9, 2013 at 12:15 pm

I have pigeons inside of my Porch ceiling nesting… And roosting however I d. Need them out right away there are babies but they are walking all over so assuming they can fly. However I cannot rip down my whole entire ceiling. Which Will prob be the case any suggestions in drawing them out so u can close it up?

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