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Bird nests on your roof: what to do and what are the possible damages?




BIRD NESTS ON YOUR ROOF: HANDLING AND DAMAGE

Bird songs usually bring to mind the warm season, the arrival of summer and the beauty of nature. When spring finally turns the corner, you can also be mesmerized by the lovely bird nests on your roof. Yet those who have experienced this also know that it is not a gift from the heavens: birds and their nests can also become a real nuisance for your roofing.

So, what are the real consequences of having a bird’s nest on your roof? What can you do to fix this situation or avoid it altogether?

Inactive bird's nest on a roof

What kind of damages do bird nests cause to your roofing?

Even if birds can seem truly harmless, they can cause very real damages to your roof, should they choose to make their home on it!

Firstly, the nest itself can cause several damages, simply by obstructing water flow. This is especially true if the birds have made their home close to a gutter or a drain. It is also the case even if the nests were made elsewhere, since the wind can blow whatever materials have been used to make them into the surrounding drains or gutters and cause blockages.

A blocked drain translates into water infiltration risks, including water seeping into the walls of your home. There can also be damages caused to your roof, and even in the overall structure of your house. Mold can also appear with time. If your roof is flat, it is especially important not to let birds build nests or allow residues to block the drains.

If bird nests impede on water flow, they can also obstruct air flow, by blocking vents and ventilation. Bad ventilation means humidity, which in turn translates into roof and structure damages. You should also take into account that the materials birds use to make their nests are flammable (grass, twigs, moss) and that they are a very real fire hazard!

Finally, one of the more obvious downfalls of having bird nests on your roof are the droppings your guests will be leaving everywhere. Bird droppings are very acidic: they cause damages to materials like asphalt, but also to heating, air-conditioning and ventilation systems.

Moreover, their droppings work as a fertilizer for moss and algea, which can encourage them to grow on your roof and lead to your roof aging way before its time.

How can you prevent birds from making nests on your roof?

Do you want to scare birds off your roof or better yet, make sure they don’t build their nests on your roof at all? There are many ways to do this without harming any creatures. 

Decoys

The same way you would use a scarecrow in the garden to scare off birds who want to eat your crops, you can also opt for decoys on your roof. In fact, you can trick birds into thinking that one of their predators if cozying up on your roof, and they will avoid it altogether.

This is simple: purchase a plastic decoy (similar to one of their predators) and install it on your roof.

Small birds, for example, scare easily when they spot a raven, which is their main predator. The falcon is a predator to doves, sparrows and pigeons, while the owl is a predator to many types of other birds like:

  • Crows
  • Seagulls
  • Sparrows
  • Pigeons

Using decoys can be efficient when trying to dissuade birds from landing on or building nests on your roof. The most efficient decoys are those that reflect light. You can also get creative and add moving parts to your decoys, which will only make them even more convincing.

Two birds parked on a roof
Gull bird parked on a roof

Repellents

While a decoy is used to imitate a predator’s physique and silhouette through shape and size, it is just as efficient to imitate a predator’s cry! In fact, playing soundtracks imitating the sounds predators make can be enough to alert other birds to their presence. Ultrasounds can also be used if you wish to avoid noise pollution, as long as they are not harmful to other neighborhood pets.

You can use other repellents, such as gels, that can be spread on the roof shingles or tiles. Repellent gels, just as their name indicates, work by dissuading birds from landing on your roof. You will have to reapply the gel every 6 to 8 months for this technique to remain efficient.

As mentioned above in the case of decoys, all materials that reflect light also work as an efficient repellent. In other words, they serve to scare the birds away. In this case, you do not need to recreate the shape of an animal: several objects can be used, like, for example:

  • Aluminum strips
  • Old CDs
  • Small mirrors
  • Tin cans

If you place these close to a bird’s nest on your roof, birds will generally abandon the nest and go build one somewhere else.

Bird netting

Whether you wish to protect your entire roofing or simply a few strategic areas (like the gutters or the ledges), bird netting is an excellent option. On top of efficiently dissuading birds from landing on your roof or making nests, they are a durable solution, albeit more expensive. Moreover, there are several available options on the market that can blend in and match your roof color.

Bird netting does not capture birds, it simply stops birds from landing on your roof.

Bird control spikes

Rest assured, it is not a question here of being harmful to birds! These spikes are very efficient in dissuading birds –especially pigeons- from landing on your roof, simply by creating an inhospitable environment. They consist of long plastic or stainless steel needle-like rods that are generally placed on overhangs or window sills. 

Without harming them, the spikes make the environment uncomfortable for the birds, who will not want to land or will simply be unable to. Other similar alternatives exist, like a metal bird spider, made of flexible rods placed in a circle, and which works in the same way.

How to remove a bird nest from your roof?

Have your attempts to prevent this from happening failed, or perhaps you’ve waited too long before acting? We understand that you now want to remove the bird nests from your roof; however, in many cases, you won’t be able to do so immediately. In fact, birds are protected by law, just as their nests are and the eggs they contain.

Here are the steps you need to follow to remove a bird nest:

  1. Before attempting to remove a bird nest, make sure that the nest is inactive, which generally occurs after mating and nesting season is over. To find out exactly when this is, you will have to identify the bird species. You can also remove a nest that is not in use, is old and uninhabited, or in a dangerous state.
  2. Avoid contamination. Wearing gloves is very important when removing a nest: there can be parasites, mites or various other insects in a nest.
  3. Place the nest in your compost bin or in a plastic bag: you’ll want to make sure not to attract predators!
  4. Clean the nesting area. To do this, use a mixture of chlorine and water (1 part chlorine for 9 parts water) and let it air dry. Cleaning the area can also help you avoid other damages to your roof.
An idle bird's nest with eggshells

For more advice on roof maintenance for your flat roof, or on how to make repairs, do not hesitate to contact us at Clinique de la toiture FCA. Do you have roof damages due to birds? Act quickly: we are here to help.

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