How to deal with birds nesting on your roof or gutter

Birds often build their nests in gutters, when there are no trees present.  

A roofline becomes the next best thing, and the gutters a rather handy fresh water supply for the birds and their chicks. 

They will cause distress for the people who are occupying the property for a number of reasons :

  1. They block your drainage system, which can lead to overflowing, leaks and even water ingress into your roof space.
  2. They are territorial of their offspring and can be a danger to humans
  3. They are damage the structure of the building, building nests under cracked tiles
  4. Threat to damage your health due to the excess droppings falling 
  5. Also faeces contains a high quantity of uric acid, which can eat away at roofing materials.
  6. Nest are attractive for insects and in turn these can also cause structural issues.
  7. Nest are fire hazards because of the material they’re made from.  They often build their nests near electrical machinery due to warmth, or within chimneys or ventilation systems. Blocking the air flow from a home in this way is a hazard in itself, as in the event of a fire smoke would be unable to escape.

However, interfering with birds’ nests is a controversial issue.

During the nesting season there is a strict set of laws that you must follow and going against many of them is a criminal offence. 

It is vital that no bird nests, regardless of species, are disturbed while in use. This rule applies even if eggs or chicks are not present – if the nest is presently home to birds, it must be left alone.

Even if found empty, before disposing of a nest, the species it belongs to must first be identified, and then their breeding season needs to be found out. 

So the best thing you can do is to monitor this and then only book your appointment for your gutter cleaning once the season is complete

If in doubt the RSPB is an invaluable source to anyone looking for advice regarding birds.  There are also a number of exceptions which can be found here.

Preventative measures are always better, here are a few things you can do:

Clean and remove nests after the season

Many species of bird return to the same nesting place every year, so if you don’t discourage them the problem will grow. 

Eaves Closures

The eaves are a common place for birds to make a home in your roofline. Eave guards, eave protectors or eaves closures could help to cover up any gaps in your roofline, preventing birds from having the opportunity to nest there.

Sound Deterrents

Sound deterrents are a popular form of nesting prevention, emitting a high-pitched noise that proves very irritating to birds so they do not nest in the vicinity of the sound. 

Decoy Birds

Decoy birds often come in the form of British birds of prey.  These decoys can sometimes look very fake, but many bird species won’t take the risk of approaching them.

Bird Spikes

Some of the most effective and permanent of the bird deterrents are bird spikes.  The spikes allow them to stop and take a break, but make it hard for birds to navigate around for them so they don’t bother trying to build a nest there.

Regular maintenance 

Don’t let cracked, loose, or missing tiles become homes for nests, and seemingly benign dirt or debris will only help to fuel the problem.

Put something back

Birds are still important to our wildlife and gardens, so you can control away from your building by offering them alternatives.  So do consider providing special bird boxes and feeders alongside some of your preventative measures.

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