How to Stop Birds From Nesting On Your Porch

by Michael on March 29, 2011 · 10 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.

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