When you envision an idyllic morning spent on your porch, the cacophony of squawking birds, an unsightly mess of droppings, or the constant flitting of birds isn’t usually part of the picture. While birds can be enjoyable to observe from a distance, when they start to make themselves at home on your porch, they can quickly become unwelcome guests. Whether they’re creating nests in your rafters, pecking at your outdoor furnishings, or leaving droppings everywhere, these feathery visitors can turn a peaceful space into a source of frustration.
Recognizing Common Bird Species
Before you begin implementing bird deterrent strategies, it’s essential to know the type of birds you’re dealing with. Here are some common bird species you might encounter:
Pigeons (Rock Pigeon, Columba livia)
Pigeons are among the most recognizable birds in North America. They have a portly body, about a foot long, with a dark gray head and light gray back. Their neck feathers display an iridescent mix of green, blue, or purple.
Sparrows (House Sparrow, Passer domesticus)
The house sparrow, an introduced species from the Old World, has become widespread in North America. They are small birds, about 6 inches in size, with a stout bill. Males display a chestnut patch, gray crown, black bib, and a mix of brown and black on their wings. Females have a light gray underside, buff-colored head, and a mix of buff and brown stripes on their wings.
Starlings (European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris)
Starlings, originating from Europe, are now common across North America. They are brown or black, speckled at times, and may display iridescent purple tints on their head and chest, as well as iridescent green tints on their wings. They have a long, slender yellow bill.
Grackles (Common Grackle, Quiscalus quiscula)
Common grackles often accompany starling flocks in searching for bugs on lawns. These birds have a lot of black and iridescence similar to starlings but can be distinguished by their darker bill, yellow circle on the outer part of the eye, long tail, and larger size (11 to 13 inches).
Gulls (Great Black-backed Gull, Larus marinus)
Gulls, or “seagulls,” can be found inland as well as at the beach. The great black-backed gull is a large bird, with black wings, a white head, and a white belly. They may have tail feathers in a mix of black, gray, and white.
Bird Deterrent Strategies for Your Porch
To deter birds from nesting or even visiting your porch, you can use different strategies. These range from using decorative items and blocking resources to utilizing professional bird repellents.
Using Decorative Items
Decorative items like wind chimes, reflective items, and decoy statues can be used to scare birds away. The noise and movement of wind chimes or the sight of statues of predator birds can deter smaller birds.
Blocking Bird Resources
Relocate bird feeders and birdbaths to a different location on your property to remove the bird-attracting resources. Also, consider covering and sealing outdoor food sources and blocking nesting spaces to discourage bird visits.
Using Professional Bird Repellents
Consider using bird repellent products from brands like Avian Enterprises, which offer a variety of solutions designed to deter common bird species.
Simple Home Remedies
Home remedies can also be an effective way to deter birds from your porch. Here are some suggestions:
Place a fake owl, particularly one with a vibrating head, on your porch to mimic a predator and scare birds away.
Install wind chimes in your porch area. Birds dislike the sound and movement of metal wind chimes.
Hang foil, pie plates, or similar materials that reflect light. The flashes of light can be uncomfortable for birds.
Sprinkle baking soda in areas where birds perch. They dislike the feel of baking soda on their feet.
Install anti-roosting bird spikes, particularly narrow ones, to prevent birds from perching or nesting.
Create your own bird repellents using ingredients like crushed garlic, lemon, or paprika mixed with water or oil. These scents can repel birds.
Having a cat can naturally deter birds. However, ensure the safety of birds from cats and implement techniques that prevent harm to bird populations.
Mimic the technique used by restaurants by stringing fishing lines across your porch. This creates a physical barrier that birds find difficult to navigate.
Water Sprinkler System
Set up a water sprinkler system that activates unexpectedly. The sudden shower of water makes the area less appealing for birds.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1: Why are birds attracted to my porch?
Birds are attracted to porches due to the availability of food, water, and nesting sites. If you have bird feeders, birdbaths, or plants that produce seeds or berries, these can attract birds. The sheltered area of a porch also provides a safe spot for birds to build nests and escape predators.
Q2: Can wind chimes really deter birds?
Yes, birds can be deterred by the noise and movement of wind chimes. They can perceive it as a threat or danger, discouraging them from settling on your porch.
Q3: Do fake owls work to scare birds?
Fake owls, particularly those with moving parts like a bobbing head, can effectively scare off many bird species. However, birds may get used to stationary fake owls over time, so it’s important to move the decoy around periodically.
Q4: Are bird spikes harmful to birds?
Bird spikes are not designed to harm birds; they merely discourage them from landing or nesting. They create an uncomfortable and uninviting surface for birds to land on.
Q5: Is it okay to have a cat to deter birds?
While cats can naturally deter birds, they also pose a threat to local bird populations. If you decide to use a cat as a bird deterrent, it’s crucial to implement methods that prevent the cat from harming birds.
Dealing with birds on your porch can be a tricky task. However, with the right combination of strategies, you can effectively deter these winged visitors. Be it through the use of decorative items, blocking bird resources, or utilizing professional bird repellents, it’s possible to reclaim your porch and enjoy your outdoor space in peace. It’s important to remember that the goal is not to harm the birds but to encourage them to move to a more suitable habitat. As responsible inhabitants sharing the same space, we need to strike a balance between our comfort and the birds’ natural behaviors.