How to Keep Birds From Nesting Under Roof

Birds can be great visitors to your property when they're stopping by your bird feeder, taking a dip in your bird bath, or singing in the morning. Unfortunately, birds can also cause extensive damage and become major pests when they decide to make your home their own.

How to keep from birds nesting under roof eaves? Follow this step-by-step bird control guide:

Read on to find out the best ways to implement these strategies to reclaim your home and stop roof damage from pest birds.

How to Stop Birds Nesting in Roof Eaves

Getting rid of birds from your roof eaves isn't an easy task. To be successful, you'll need to implement several of these strategies to make your home less inviting and block the birds' access to prime nesting areas.

Inspect Your Eaves for Damage

Before adopting a multi-stage plan to stop birds nesting in the roof, you'll want to check for any existing damage or nests.

Check carefully for any holes or damage to the eaves. You may see holes in your soffits – or the material that creates the ceiling of the eaves – and your fascia, the boards that run along the lower edge of your roof. Depending on the type of pest bird building nests, may be nesting inside holes in your soffits or they may have moved into the attic if another pest, such as a raccoon, has caused damage.

Any holes in the eaves should be filled with caulking after confirming there are no birds or eggs inside.

Eliminate Their Food Sources

Why are starlings, pigeons, or house sparrows moving under your eaves? If you want to know how to stop birds nesting in roof eaves, you need to know why they're attracted to your home. There's a good chance the answer is food and shelter.

The methods below will help you address the shelter aspect but first, you should eliminate food sources for pest birds as much as possible.

You should:

  • Install bird netting over your garden
  • Make sure trash cans are covered
  • Clean your gutters regularly to prevent standing water
  • Change what's in your bird feeder or stop putting bird feeders out in the spring and summer when birds are nesting

Simply changing what you offer in your bird feeder can produce great results. Regular suet without corn or other treats won't attract starlings or sparrows but woodpeckers are almost the only birds you'll see eating it. The best options to use are whole-shelled peanuts, striped sunflower seeds in the shell, safflower seeds, and nyjer. Safflower seeds are especially great because starlings, blackbirds, and squirrels all hate them but feeder birds like cardinals like them just fine.

Use Bird Stoppers for Roof Tiles

Small birds love tile roofs because there are perfectly sized gaps under the roof tiles at the eaves. The good news is there's an easy way to seal off these gaps: use a roof bird stop. These bird stoppers for roof tiles are usually made of foam and come in a strip to fit snuggly inside the gaps at the end of your roof.bird stoppers for roof tiles

Here's an example of a roof bird stop; you may need a different style depending on the profile and shape of your clay or cement tiles.

Install Bird Netting

Bird netting creates a physical barrier to prevent birds from reaching your eaves. Exclusion methods like nets and bird stop always work better than solutions like ultrasonic bird deterrents or shiny objects that create glare. You can use bird netting temporarily during the spring and summer when birds are nesting or it can be left up for protection year-round.

install bird netting

There are two types of bird netting: basic plastic bird netting and metal mesh. Copper mesh is the preferred solution for the long-term protection of your roof eaves. You can use a staple gun to hang the mesh from wood under the eave to prevent birds from landing on joists, beams, and other prime nesting areas. Plastic netting is a better solution if you want to protect your entire roof. It can also be hung from the edges of your roof to the ground if necessary during nesting season.

Use No Nasty Nest

No Nasty Nest is an affordable solution designed specifically to prevent bats, swallows, and other pests from nesting under your eaves. You can easily install these self-adhering strips yourself on eaves, gables, and other areas around your home, garage, and shed. No Nasty Nest is essentially hanging “twine” that blocks birds from accessing the nesting area because they don't want to force their way through the strips.

Use Bird Spikes or Coils

If you don't like the look of netting or you just want additional protection, you can protect flat surfaces on and under your roof with various types of birds spikes. These metal or plastic prongs can be installed almost anywhere to make a nesting area uncomfortable. Bird spikes can usually be attached with self-adhesive strips or screws.

bird spikes or coilsStainless steel bird spikes are usually worth the extra cost over plastic because they offer longer-lasting protection. The downside of bird prongs is they won't stop all birds. They work best against larger birds like pigeons but starlings and sparrows may not be bothered at all, especially if they really want to be under your roof. These birds are able to clutch objects very well and you may see them holding on to the sides of the spikes then building nests over them.

If you have flat areas you want to protect from birds under the roof, you can also try bird coils. These extendable metal coils can be stretched over edges, beams, and joists and they work by moving when a bird lands on them. They can work a bit better than bird spikes against smaller birds because it's harder to build a nest on coils than spikes but small birds may still nest between the springs.

Try Visual Bird Deterrents

Visual deterrents or bird scare devices can help to scare birds away from certain areas. These visual deterrents come in two types: they're either designed with a reflective surface or they mimic a predator like an owl or hawk.

owl visual bird deterrent

Visual bird scarers can be somewhat effective to stop birds nesting in roof eaves but they will only help in combination with other bird control methods. Pigeons and some other bird species will learn to ignore frightening sights when no birds are hurt. Still, you may get results for several weeks or a couple of months of results with options like reflective bird deterrents.

To get the best results, it's a good idea to move the devices around sometimes. You can even take them down for a day or two before moving locations to trick birds into thinking the threat is real.

Don't Disturb Active Nests!

When you're trying to stop birds nesting in roof eaves, you may be tempted to simply remove nests that you find. As a general rule, you should not remove the nests or prevent the bird's access to the nest while the nest is active from spring through early fall. Federal law protects most birds although there are some exceptions if you know the birds are pigeons, European starlings, or house sparrows.

To be on the safe side, do not damage, destroy, or move nests that have eggs or young birds. If a nest absolutely must be moved, it's usually best to call a professional to make sure it's done safely and legally.

Related Questions

How do I keep birds from nesting in my gutters?

Clogged gutters often invite birds as they collect nesting material like twigs. Make sure your gutters are cleaned regularly and consider installing gutter guards with bird spikes if birds continue nesting in the gutters.

Can birds damage a roof?

Yes, birds can cause extensive damage to all types of roofing. Bird droppings are highly acidic and eat away at roof materials, especially asphalt shingles. Bird nests can block gutters and cause water to damage the roof substrate and foundation. Birds can also cause electrical fires and damage AC systems.