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How to Keep Birds Off Your Roof

Posted by Timothy Hall on

roof damage by birds


Birds sound like a lot of fun. But if they keep congregating on your roof, you should think about getting some bird deterrent. Yes, they are nice to look at. But if you permit them to stay, they can wreak havoc on your home.

Of course, removing them is no easy task. In some places, the government prevents homeowners from removing the nests that have been built on their roofs. People that attempt to do so, all the same, ran the risk of attracting some rather hefty fines.

But the law shouldn’t concern you. If you are determined, there are ways to remove birds from your roof and to keep them off, without breaking the law. The undertaking doesn’t have to cost you quite as much money as you think.

Why Are Birds Such a Problem?

This is the question many homeowners ask, especially if they only have one or two birds on their roof. They don’t understand why they have to sink so much time, effort, and resources into their removal. Birds are not quite as benign as you think. Consider the following:

1). Droppings

This is your first concern. If you have birds on your roof, they will eventually cover your home with droppings. This can’t be helped. If bird droppings sound like an innocuous element, you should know that they are acidic.

Not only can they ruin your paint but they are more than capable of harming roofing materials made out of asphalt. If that wasn’t bad enough, they can cause an outbreak of algae on your roof which, in turn, can accelerate wear and tear. Don’t underestimate bird droppings.

2). Drainage

A roof doesn’t stop at covering your home. It is part of your drainage system. When it rains, your roof has gutters that lead the water to the ground, preventing it from accumulating on top of your house. But a bird can build nests that block the gutters.

Once this happens, the water won’t drain as effectively. The stagnant water that is eventually allowed to stand on the roof will lower its lifespan by applying pressure and causing it to wear out at a faster rate. Don’t be so surprised if your roof eventually collapses inward.

3). Ventilation

If you have HVAC units on the roof, birds can block them with their nests. They can also do the same thing to air vents. This will reduce the quality of air entering your building. It can also trap moisture. This can damage the structure of your property.

4). Fire

Birds are a fire hazard. This is because they use flammable materials like twigs and moss to build their nests. A spark in the wrong place on a hot day could lead to disaster. Keep this in mind before dismissing birds as harmless.

5). Health

Birds carry diseases. You don’t have to eat them to contract these diseases. Their droppings could contaminate the objects in your home, exposing you to psittacosis, E. coli, and the like. The birds may also attack you. That sounds like an unlikely occurrence but you cannot dismiss it. If you approach their nests while carrying out maintenance on your roof, they could perceive you as a threat.

How to Maintain a Roof That Has Birds

Bird deterrents won’t save your roof if it has a large population of birds that have lived on it for weeks, months, and even years. You have to take steps to maintain it. This will prevent the damage the birds have done from causing lasting harm. Try to keep the following in mind:

1). Hygiene

Not only are bird drippings acidic but they are unsightly. You should take steps to remove them. If your situation is serious, and you have the money, you should invest in a bird poop cleaner. If the tool is insufficient, hire a professional. They understand bird poop and they have all the tools required to remove it. But if your case is mild, a garden hose should do.

2). Holes

Investigate your roof thoroughly. Look for any holes the birds may have made while building their nests. Fix them all. Otherwise, the birds will return, using the holes to build more nests.

3). Water

Identify and eliminate standing water. This is a prominent issue on flat roofs. Birds like these ponds. They use them to drink and bathe. By removing them, you have given the birds fewer reasons to return to your roof.

4). Remains

Some birds hunt small animals. They bring them back to their nests and eat them before discarding their remains. You should find and remove them before they attract irritating pests. If these corpses have already nurtured insect infestations, call a professional. Pest control companies will treat the entire structure, making certain that even the insects you cannot see have been eliminated.

How To Keep Birds Off Your Roof?

Because the law in some places forbids people from removing bird nests, you should find a way to prevent birds from nesting on your roof in the first place. Fortunately, the market is full of bird deterrents that can achieve this objective including:

1). Predators

Birds have plenty of predators. However, you cannot exactly use them to keep the birds off your roof. They would eventually create the same problem you wanted to eliminate, which is why you are better off using fake predators.

Buy some plastic owls to fight pigeons, crows, and sparrows; plastic ravens to fight magpies, plastic falcons to scare turtle doves away. Get creative. You can also buy plastic foxes, crocodiles, snakes, and any other animal that birds fear.

Look for decoys with elements that give them a realistic look such as reflective eyes and moving wings. If you don’t want to cover your roof with decoys, buy a few kites and flags. Of course, birds are not stupid, if you leave the decoys where they are, the birds will eventually realize that they are fake. You can prevent this by moving the decoys every few days. You can also alternate between decoys to keep the birds on their toes.

2). Audio Predators

Rather than installing physical objects that look like predators, generate sounds that remind the birds of those predators. Install a speaker system on your roof and use it to play the sounds of animals that the birds fear.

You can use both the plastic decoys and the speaker system to completely fool the birds. They will steer clear of your roof from that point onward. Naturally, the type of sound matters. Birds have different predators. You have to match the sound to the type of bird. A simple internet search will show you all the creatures that each bird is scared of. This will point you in the direction of the sounds you can use to scare the birds away.

If that sounds like a lot of work, and you don’t want your speaker system to disturb your neighbors, you can take a more direct approach, namely ultrasonic frequencies. Certain devices produce a frequency that only birds can hear.

It doesn’t bother humans but birds find it disorienting. It is as effective a bird deterrent as you can get. But you should ensure that the device you select cannot affect other animals like dogs and cats.

3). Electricity

This probably sounds cruel. Most homeowners don’t want to shock the birds on their roofs to death. But that is unlikely to happen. Some companies sell electric pads which deliver a shock that is only strong enough to force the birds to leave.

You are expected to install them in the areas the birds frequent. They don’t have to land on the pads. Even if they perch a few feet away, the diodes will still shock them. After a while, they will learn to stay away. It is worth reiterating the fact that these devices cannot kill the birds, let alone harm them. If they did, the authorities would have banned their use. They are still in circulation because they are safe despite their effectiveness as bird deterrents.

4). Spikes

Spikes are another bird deterrent that seems quite harsh. However, like the electric pads, they are not that dangerous. As their name suggests, they are rods shooting upward. Some of them are steel but you can get them in plastic. Either way, they won’t hurt the birds.

If you place them in the locations the birds frequent, they will keep the creatures away. If you don’t know where your birds spend most of their time, focus on the gutters. You don’t want the birds to make their nests in such a location because they will create a blockage. The spikes will keep the gutters clear.

Bird spiders are even better in some cases. They are designed in a manner that allows several floppy rods to stretch outward, preventing birds from landing in the area. If you position them strategically, they will keep birds permanently off your roof.

Naturally, none of these bird deterrents can guarantee results. The method you use will depend on the number of birds you have on your roof. A large flock won’t be deterred by spikes and bird spiders. You are better off using a net to cover the entire roof.

The birds can still land but the net will keep them from gaining a solid foothold. Eventually, they will leave. Just as effective is perch repellent gel which you can apply to various areas of the roof. The gel works for months at a time. You have to reapply it once it loses its effectiveness.

If you don’t want to spend money on expensive bird deterrents, you can always eliminate the factors that would normally encourage the birds to return to your roof. For instance:

1). Nests

Remove the nests. If the birds don’t have nests on your roof, they are just as likely to move on. These pest birds are not like pet birds like the parrotlet – these birds need to be gone. The presence of a nest encourages them to stay. Talk to the authorities. You can also use the internet to check the laws governing birds in your area.

Make sure you have the legal right to remove the nests on your roof. In some regions, you can only remove nests that don’t have chicks or eggs. In other places, you need a special permit to remove a nest. Regardless of the situation, you need to ensure that your activities are perfectly legal. Nests are not that difficult to remove. They are made from basic elements like mud and twigs.

2). Food

Remove any sources of food from the vicinity. Don’t leave your garbage cans open when they are outside. You should also fight the urge to feed the birds you encounter around your home. Don’t litter your yard with crumbs. A consistent source of food will encourage the birds to make a home on your roof.

3). Plants

If you have plants on your roof, you can use them to keep birds away. Just spray them with products like methyl anthranilate whose scent and taste are anathema to birds. This approach is perfect for birds that enjoy eating the plants on your roof. Rather than removing the plants in an effort to eliminate the creatures’ source of food, spray them with methyl anthranilate to chase the birds away.

4). Trees

If you have trees near the roof, you can scare the birds away by attaching reflective tape to the branches. The sunlight will reflect off the tape, striking the birds and disorienting them. You should also cut branches that neighbor your roof. Birds may start by building nests in those branches before migrating to your roof.

If all else fails, don’t be afraid to trap the birds. Put some food in a cage. It will draw the birds in. Once you have the birds trapped, take them to a distant location such as a forest from where they are less likely to return. You can keep doing this until all the birds are gone.

Some people use this as a desperate measure whenever one or two birds refuse to leave despite the bird deterrents they have deployed. If you don’t want to go through the trouble of trapping birds, get a professional.

They will capture the creatures humanely before finding them a suitable home such as a wildlife preserve.