Sara explains how you can stop birds from roosting in unwanted places and pooping on your outdoor furniture, BBQ, patio floor, walls and other unwanted places… for good. Several options compared and step-by-step instructions.
Alright, I know the title of this post is a bit crude, but I wanted to be upfront, because this issue is a real nuisance that not many people talk about:
We have a covered deck area which is lovely to spend time on a summery afternoon, but ever since we moved our couch into this new spot we have had a predicament. That is, the birds also love to perch above this spot, and inevitably, leave unsightly traces of themselves sprawled over our couch.
It has become quite embarrassing to have guests over, because there is no easy way to get around the problem. Like how farting in public and saying “pardon me” doesn’t really make up for the fact, offering a crap-covered couch for a guest to sit on is always going to be humiliating no matter how profusely you apologize.
So, the time has come – either the couch goes, or the birds go. As you’ve probably guessed, it’s the birds.
In this post I share my research into how to stop birds from perching and pooping in unwanted areas, like your beloved furniture, wall, flooring or BBQ. I also show you the exact steps I took to shoo those birdies away with bird spikes, to finally stop that ever-flowing supply of bird poop on our furniture.
Ways to stop birds perching and pooping in unwanted places
There are two ways we can go about this: solutions that keep birds away from your yard entirely, and solutions that keep birds away from specific spots only. We moved to the country specifically so we could live amongst nature, so for us, we definitely want to birds around. I just want to keep them away from certain spots. On the other hand, you might have good reason to want birds away from your yard entirely, like if you have fruit trees in your yard that the birds enjoy ripping into.
Keep birds away from certain spots in your yard
If you want birds to continue visiting your yard, but just want to stop them from roosting in certain places, such as overhead beams or a particular tree branch, then here are some solutions.
#1 Install Bird Spikes
To prevent birds from roosting on various parts of the house, you can pick up a pack of bird roosting spikes that can be affixed to the top of just about any surface. Yes, other people have had this problem and there is a product that already exists to solve it! Perfect!
Bird roosting spikes are designed to work on small birds. Simply affix the spikes wherever the birds routinely perch, to prevent them from landing. For best results, the spikes should be spaced out far enough to be functional (not packed right together), but close enough to prevent small birds from landing between the spikes.
#2 Apply Liquid Bird Repellent
Another great option is to use a liquid bird repellent. There are many different options when it comes to non-toxic bird repellents that can be simply sprayed onto surfaces that they usually perch upon. These repellents give off an odor that birds generally do not like. In fact, most bird repellents make use of methyl anthranilate which is extracted from Concorde grapes. It literally smells like grape juice to humans, but it is very bothersome to birds.
#3 Remove Roosting Options
This is kind of a no-brainer, but can you remove the thing on which the birds are roosting? For example, if it is an overhanging tree branch, can you simply prune it back? In most cases you have probably already thought of this, and removing the roosting spot is not an option. Like in our case, the birds are roosting on a structural wire, so there is no way we’re taking that away!
#4 Intimidate Birds with Mirrors
While bird owners buy a mirror for their parakeet or cockatoo to look at themselves in, most birds do not like reflective or shiny objects, according to World of Birds. Objects that reflect light or sound can easily frighten birds. One of the easiest ways to scare them off is to hang old CDs from strings in areas where the birds regularly perch. During the daytime, as the wind spins the CDs in the air, the light will reflect off of them and shine randomly around the area where the birds would usually perch.
While some people speak highly of this method, I personally find mirrors to be hit and miss, and I don’t really agree with their effectiveness in keeping away birds. I have found in many circumstances, mirrors actually attract birds. In particular, birds that want to pick a fight with their own reflection! Perhaps you have noticed this yourself, since some birds love to fight their reflections in car side mirrors.
#5 Block All Openings
If you’re having problems with birds roosting in indoor or semi-indoor areas such as attics, sheds, chimneys and garages, then you will want to try and block any openings to stop them from entering. Sometimes, this is easier said than done, depending on your situation. Once you have identified any potential openings, you need to take steps to cover them up with chicken wire or anything else that would otherwise block the bird from getting in the hole.
Keep birds away from your entire yard
If you want to deter birds from your yard entirely, here are a few other solutions.
#1 Install A Bird Kite
For some homeowners, birds in the yard can be a very beautiful thing. However, birds can also perch, poop, and drop feathers all over the property. When it comes to keeping birds out of the yard, a Bird Kite does a wonderful job. Simply set the kite up on a windy day, and it will fly over the top of your property. Most birds will be easily spooked by the bright colors and the high contrast the kite is made up of.
Unlike regular kid’s kites, bird kites are specifically designed to scare off pesky birds by mimicking predators and reflecting the sunlight. But, they only work when it’s windy and daylight. While I have not personally tried bird kites, I can see how they would work, since our chickens get easily spooked by anything in the sky that resembles an eagle or other bird of prey, and presumably other small birds would be too.
#2 Remove Food and Water Sources
Of course, one of the best ways of reducing the number of birds that make their way into your yard to perch is to remove any possible food source. Chances are that the reason birds are perching in your yard is that they have found it to be an all-you-can-eat buffet. Start by first identifying what type of bird it is, in order to identify what type of food is attracting them. Perhaps it is a specific plant in your yard, or maybe it’s because your yard attracts more grasshoppers, flies, mosquitoes, or even worms than other yards. Regardless of the food source, you need to identify it and remove it.
#3 Use A Scarecrow Decoy
Scarecrow decoys are some of the easiest ways to deter birds from perching in the yard. For years, farmers have been using scarecrows to keep birds from entering the cornfields to eat their crops. A scarecrow doesn’t have to be all that scary, it just has to mimic something that will scare the birds away. One of the best scarecrow decoys that money can buy today, is a plastic owl. If birds think that a predator lives on your property, then they will stay clear of it. Most birds fear owls more than any other predator. These plastic decoys can be found in a number of different shapes and sizes, and they all help to deter birds from coming on the property (source: Avian Control Inc).
#4 Use an Ultrasonic Bird Repellent Device
Naturally, if you want a more scientific way of repelling birds from the yard, then you can choose from any number of excellent ultrasonic devices. These devices will help keep birds far away from your porch or patio, without having to install any type of visual device. Instead, because the bird’s hearing is so sensitive, it is easy to scare them away simply by irritating their ears at an ultrasonic level.
How to Stop Birds Pooping on Your Furniture (using spikes)
Below are the steps we took to stop birds from making our couch their toilet, using bird spikes.
Sure, our couch has seen better days and the upholstery needs fixing. However, it is fitting for an old country house and comfortable enough, apart from the bird poo sprawled on the right side of the cushion and arm rest:
The first thing to do is think and look. For this to happen, the birds must be roosting above the couch. Looking above this couch there is a structural cable, which makes for a perfect roosting location. I don’t blame little birds for liking this spot now that I look at it – it’s protected, safe and comfortable:
It made sense for me to cover the wires with spikes to stop birds from roosting there.
Now, in looking at this roosting location, I can tell these are small birds. To be completely honest, if I weren’t writing a post to share with you about it, what I would do is simply put some barbed wire on that cable, to stop birds landing on it. That works for us because we’re on a farm and keep barbed wire in the shed, but most people don’t have barbed wire simply lying around.
So, for readers’ sake, I decided to try out these cheap 70mm bird spikes from our local Bunnings hardware store instead:
Bird spikes are easy to find and any brand will do, this is just what I happened to find locally.
This brand of spikes allows you to put the spikes in one of two directions, either in-line or perpendicular to the plastic strip. I personally felt that running the spikes in-line with the plastic strip would work best here. The best direction for your situation depends on what size birds you’re getting and where you’re mounting them.
It’s a bit tricky to see in the photo, but the plastic strip has holes in it, so you can easily nail them down. In my case, I’m going to tie them down with wire, instead. Here, I have snipped them down to about 1.5 inches / 3.5cm using pliers:
Cut the spikes down to size and insert them into the strip provided.
Next, I attached the strips of bird spikes onto the cable where the birds were roosting. To do this, I inserted some thin wire through some remaining holes in the plastic strip, and used pliers to tighten it on the cable:
As you can see, the spikes are quite neat and inconspicuous once installed. In this spot, anyway. Easy done.
Since I didn’t buy enough spikes, I ended up putting some barbed wire up there too, after all. Here is a quick pic if you are interested in seeing that. If you decide to use barbed wire for this purpose, make sure the gaps between the barbs aren’t too wide, so birds don’t perch between them; I doubled up the barbed wire to stop that from happening:
So, there you have it. That’s the birds taken care of. Next step is just to wash the couch. I haven’t done it yet, but I’ll probably use a scraper to get the majority of the bird poo off, and then gently scrub the cushion with laundry soap and warm water. Not looking forward to that part.
Glad to report, this afternoon we spotted a bird coming in to land, that quickly turned itself around at the sight of the spikes. Success! No more birds pooping on our furniture!
As you can now see, unlike stopping spiders from building webs around your windows and doors, preventing birds from roosting and perching in certain spots is quite easily achieved. Ultimately, the best option is to simply remove the locations where birds can perch and poop on your stuff, but that is often not an option.
If you want to keep birds out of your yard entirely, then removing food, water and perching spots if very effective. For example, if you pick up ripe fruit the moment it falls on the ground, you take away food that would otherwise attract birds. More importantly, a well-manicured yard is one of the best bird deterrence possible, simply because it detracts any insects that the birds would come to feed upon.
In many cases, we actually want the birds in our yard, but don’t want them perching in certain spots, like above the couch, a favorite chair or the barbecue. In which case, bird spikes specifically designed for this purpose are likely going to be your best bet, followed by repellant sprays.
Next, if you need to keep the birds out of your vegetable garden too, check out this neat rat-proof and bird-proof vegetable garden cage cover I made from PVC pipe and aviary wire. Full instructions and photos are provided, and best of all, you don’t even need building skills to make it.