How To Remove a Bird’s Nest (2022 Edition)

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Part of an overall bird control program is removing abandoned nests. But first, it is essential to identify what kind of bird lives there. Then, you have to know the procedures for safely removing it. 

In this informative guide to nest removal, you will learn:

  • How To Identify the Nests From Three Common Bird Species
  • How To Remove Bird Nests Safely
  • Where To Find Nesting Sites Around Your Home
  • Precautions for Keeping You and Your Bird Friends Safe During the Process
Reviewed By:
Ed Spicer

Ed has been working in the pest control industry for years helping 1,000's of homeowners navigate the world of insect and rodent management. He manages Pest Strategies now helping homeowners around the world!

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    How to Remove a Bird’s Nest 

    The most common pest birds in the U.S. are pigeons, European starlings, and house sparrows. Since these species are not protected by federal law, nest removal is permitted. However, there is a wrong way and a right way to do it. 

    How To Remove a Pigeon Nest

    Pigeon nests are saucer-shaped platforms built out of straw, sticks, and trash, including cigarette butts. They are cemented together using the bird’s feces or other organic matter. 

    Pigeons build their nests in various locations throughout an urban environment, including:

    • Ledges
    • Rafters
    • Under bridges
    • Gaps in support beams
    • Attics 
    • Barns

    Once the female pigeon lays its eggs, it takes about 18 days for them to hatch. After that, six weeks pass before squabs (baby pigeons) gain their independence from the nest. 

    The simplest way to remove nesting debris is by scraping it off the surface. A flat shovel or pizza peel works well for this. For tight spaces, use a pair of salad tongs to remove the straw and other debris. 

    Use a tough plastic contractor’s bag for disposal and tie it well before throwing it in the trash. Also, it is best to utilize outside containers that can be tightly sealed for this purpose. 

    Clean the nesting area with a hospital-grade disinfectant such as Microcide SQ. Mix two ounces of the product with one gallon of water. 

    For heavily soiled areas, pre-clean the entire surface and wipe dry. Then, spray again and let it air dry for at least 10 minutes. 

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    How To Remove a Starling Nest

    Starlings have an amazing ability to nest almost anywhere. However, they take advantage of human-made structures the most. 

    Nesting sites include:

    • Openings under eaves and overhangs
    • Chimneys
    • Holes in gutters
    • Dryer vents
    • Attic spaces
    • Nest boxes

    Starling nests are crude by design. They typically consist of twigs that they shape into a small bowl. And since they are cavity nesters, starlings almost always prefer enclosed spaces. 

    For that reason, you may have a tough time accessing the nest. You first have to remove or uncover the structure that is surrounding it. 

    For dryer vents, disconnect the hose first, then see how far the nest goes. In the case of eaves and overhangs, removing surrounding boards may be necessary to access the nest. 

    The removal process is not as messy as it is for pigeons. You can usually lift the nest out by hand without having to scrape underneath it.

    Still, it is good to clean the area where the nest was located so that the birds are less likely to attempt to rebuild it. Use an over-the-counter antibacterial spray for this. A solution of bleach and water is acceptable as well. 

    Bird nesting areas are replete with harmful pathogens that cause certain illnesses such as histoplasmosis.

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    How To Remove a Sparrow Nest

    The sparrow’s nests are typically within cavities, but you can also find them dangling from porch ceilings. In addition, there is often more than one nest built within proximity of each other. 

    They are dome-shaped and made from an assortment of dry stems, roots, grass, and leaves. A layer of feathers typically lines the inside. Those that build nests out in the open use mud to cement them to smooth surfaces. 

    Females lay four to five eggs, and they take about 14 days to hatch. Then it takes another 10 to 15 days for the fledglings to become independent of their parents. 

    Remove sparrow nests the same way you would starling nests. However, beware that sparrows are one of the most aggressive birds when it comes to defending their nests. 

    That is why it is vital to ensure the nest is abandoned before removing it. Otherwise, you risk being attacked by angry mothers protecting their young. 

    Safety Precautions 

    Bird nesting areas are replete with harmful pathogens that cause certain illnesses such as histoplasmosis. Also, it is best not to harm wildlife during the process of removing a nest. For those reasons, follow these safety precautions and best practices. 

    • Check local wildlife regulations concerning nest removal since they change periodically.
    • It is best to wait until the nest is completely abandoned before removing it. This goes for eggs as well. 
    • Wear personal protective clothing, including a long sleeve shirt, latex gloves, and respirator.
    • Never attempt to remove a nest on or near an active power line. Instead, consult with your local utility company to determine the best options. 


    One Final Point

    The whole idea behind removing nests is so that birds cannot return later to use them again. This is probably the most humane way of deterring these pests.

    Regardless, if you have no idea what type of bird is making the mess in your backyard, it will be an undue challenge to get rid of them. 

    For that reason, pest control companies specializing in wildlife removal can help. They have trained technicians who can identify the species of bird you have. They also know the breeding cycles for each type, so you can avoid removing nests prematurely. 


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