While sitting outside on the patio, watching the birds fly around is nice. You may see birds such as a cardinal, blue jay, hawk, or even an Osprey for example. Sometimes they will land on the house and look for food or other places to fly. However, you don’t want them in your gutters. How to keep birds out of gutters? You can use a few things such as gutter guards, bird decoys, and steel wool to cover holes or add a birdhouse to your property to name a few. Let’s take a look.
Problem With Bird Nests
The gutter might seem like a nice place for a bird to build its nest. However, there are a few reasons why it is not.
- Nest can clog the gutter – If the gutter is clogged, water will not flow through and will go over the sides of the gutter causing soil erosion.
- Water pooling – It can also cause issues with water pooling at the foundation.
- The gutter sags and pulls away from the house – the weight of the nest can cause the gutter to sag and pull away from the home. Unfortunately, this will make cause for replacing the gutters and you will need to find a reputable company to do this.
- Roof damage – moisture damage can happen because the water is trapped or overflows and can cause rot.
- Damaged foundation – water runoff can cause the foundation to be exposed and foundation shifts.
- Basement walls crack – in areas of the country that have basements, the runoff of water can cause the walls to crack and the basement to sink.
Safely Removing Nests
The nesting season is spring through early fall. If you find a nest during this time, call a pest control company or local wildlife removal service. This is because there may be eggs in the nest or even baby birds and they are protected. However, if it is late fall or winter, you are allowed to remove the nest yourself.
If you do choose to do this, be sure to wear protective gear. This includes a mask that goes over your nose and mouth as well as gloves. This is to protect yourself from diseases and other things that the birds carry. When you have successfully removed the nest, take steps to keep birds from making the area their home.
How to Prevent Birds From Nesting in Gutters
There are ways to prevent birds from nesting in gutters. These are:
- Gutter guards – these come in plastic, metal, or aluminum. The aluminum gutter guards are the best material as it is light weight and if painted with heavy-duty paint, they can last a long time. They help keep the debris out of the gutters. However, if you don’t clean the gutters, they will become heavy and fall so keeping up with maintenance is important.
- Bird Decoys – check with your Home Owners Association to see if they are allowed. If they are, they can be a good deterrent on the roof by scaring away the birds.
- Steel wool – this is to seal any holes or gaps that are in the porch, roof, or eaves. To reinforce it, even more, you can cover it with metal or wood to make sure the area is sealed.
- Buy new gutters that are updated and can keep the debris and birds out.
- Birdhouse, nesting boxes, or bird feeders – add these to the home so they can provide a safe place for the birds.
Types of Gutters
If you do decide to replace and install gutters, there are a few different kinds. Also, it is a good idea to make them go around the house so they protect the foundation.
- Seamless – this type of gutter is built on-site and is custom to the home and does not have a seam. It is helpful if the gutter becomes too heavy as it does not have a seam to pull apart, unlike traditional gutters.
- Aluminum – this material of gutter is made to last 20 years or more, is durable, and does not rust. It makes it a good choice for a new gutter system in the home.
- Vinyl – these are also popular, easy to install, and won’t rust or corrode.
- Copper or steel – these are sturdy, more expensive, and have longevity.
How Much Does It Cost
If the bird nests aren’t causing any backup of water or spilling water onto the ground, you may be able to leave them in there for now. However, you will want to watch them. If they start to clog the water, you will need to have the nests removed. This can cost between $300-$1000 to clean it out so keep an eye on them.
Other Recommended Maintenance
Now that you know about gutters and keeping birds out, it is important to keep an eye on these other areas of maintenance.
One of the areas is the downspouts. Having downspouts attached to the gutters is a great idea. The downspouts will carry the water away from the house. If possible it is recommended to have downspouts extend 10 feet from the house in order to divert the water and avoid pooling.
Another area is a leaking skylight. This could be due to sealants that wore away, dirt in the track, or a roof leak. Taking care of this issue right away is important. This is so water does not leak into the home and cause other issues.
Lastly, since you are thinking about the gutters, it is a good idea to look at a roof inspection checklist. This gives you an idea of what to look for and what may need repair. Areas such as flashing, shingles, vent pipes, moss, or lichen to name a few. Having a list helps you to check once a year for any issues and keep big problems from developing.
When to Call a Professional
Birds and their nests in the gutters may not seem like a big deal. However, any time you have debris or extra weight added to the gutter, it can cause problems. If you are not able to get the nest and birds out, call on a local pest control company to do this for you.
After the pest control company comes out to remove the nest and birds, contacting a local home inspection company may be needed. This is especially true if there are any holes in the roof or the gutters are falling off. The home inspection company can let you know what areas will need fixing.
Birds carry diseases so be careful anytime you come across a nest. Be safe if you choose to climb on the ladder to take a look at what is going on in the gutter. Remember, adding a birdhouse in the yard may be just what you need to keep the birds out of the gutters. Also, cleaning the gutters will allow water to flow through and avoid issues with nests forming.
If you would like more ideas for controlling your bird nest population, call on your local home inspection team. Inside and Out Property Inspectors offer pest control and can check out your home in the Jacksonville and St. Augustine, FL areas.