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9 Ways to Keep Birds Away from Porch & Patio


bird on porch

While birds may be fascinating to listen to and look at from a distance, they can quickly become pests when they start frequenting your property. The presence of birds on your porch, or patio may mean bird droppings, excessive noise, or even pecking from aggressive species. Fortunately, there are several different ways to keep them away from your house.

1. Make your porch & patio less attractive to birds


bird feeder on porch

When trying to discourage birds from perching or lurking about on your property, your first line of action should be to get rid of all attractants. Do you have a bird feeder on your porch? Are there overgrown trees on your patio? Birds are likely flocking to your property due to the presence of food, water, and shelter. Below are steps on how to make your porch/patio less attractive to birds:

– Avoid leaving food outside


It comes as no surprise that birds will keep coming back to your property if you have seeds in your bird feeders. When these avian creatures eat the food that you readily provide, there’s a good chance that they’ll end up pooping on your porch/patio. To prevent this, consider relocating the bird feeder to another part of your property or taking it down altogether. Likewise, avoid leaving leftovers on your porch or patio table. Your unfinished sandwich may be just what a pigeon needs to start frequenting your property. When birds figure out that your porch/patio is no longer a food source, they are less likely to lurk, which means you won’t have to deal with poop.

– Get rid of any potential nesting or hiding spots


Most birds prefer to hide, nest, perch, and lay eggs in trees and dense shrubbery that provide them with lots of cover from perceived threats. If there are any hedges lining your patio or porch, it might be worth trimming them back a little to discourage birds from nesting or hiding in them. 

Similarly, some fowls like to hide in holes and crevices. To prevent birds from entering these spaces, be sure to patch them up or stuff them no matter how big or small they are. For the best results, use copper mesh balls specifically made to stuff holes to keep birds away.

According to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, when getting rid of potential nest sites, keep in mind that it’s illegal to move, damage, or destroy active nests without a permit. According to the Act, an active nest means there are babies or eggs inside. A nest that does not have eggs or is still under construction is not active and can be safely removed. 

– Eliminate water sources


A fountain, birdbath, or any other water container on your property invites fowls to visit for sips and dips. Furthermore, standing water also attracts bugs such as mosquitoes. Get rid of all water sources that birds may gravitate to be forced to drink and bathe elsewhere.

2. Keep birds away by using shiny objects


pinwheels

Birds abhor shiny, moving objects that reflect light. You can use this weakness to your advantage by hanging shiny items at regular intervals so that birds won’t become too familiar with them. Here are a couple of examples of objects you could use:

– Pinwheels


Inexpensive plastic pinwheels can be used to intimidate birds with their shiny surfaces and rotating motion. The shinier, the better, so look for metallic pinwheels that you can hang strategically on an awning post or a deck railing. The only downside to this shiny deterrent is that you need a good breeze to get them to move in different directions. You should go for silver options to still benefit from their reflectiveness.

– Mirrors


Buy a couple of cheap mirrors at your local craft or dollar store and hang them on your awning, roof, nearby trees, and other spots where birds like to perch. In addition to being shiny, mirrors can also confuse birds – when they catch a glimpse of their reflection, they may think it’s a potential competitor and assume that there’s little to no food left in the area. Furthermore, as the mirrors move in the breeze, they blast unpleasant beams of sunlight that annoy birds and keep them away from your property. 

– Reflective bird diverters


Reflective bird diverters may be unpleasant for even you to look at, but there’s no question that they get the job done; plus, they are pretty cheap. They are small, circular tags that you can suspend from your fence, tree branches, and other surrounding areas. Each tag features an image that imitates a predator bird’s eye, which tricks the pests into believing that there is a predator in the area. 

– Old CDs


If you have a bunch of old CDS lying around collecting dust, why not put them to use as bird deterrents. They are shiny and can spin and sway when suspended on wire and spring. This motion and the short bursts of reflected light from their surfaces will keep birds away.

– Garden balls


Look for large, colorful, reflective balls that you can hang from your awning, roof, or nearby shrubs. This will confuse birds and make them stay away.

– Metallic streamers


These objects will move even in the slightest breeze, making them an excellent option for keeping birds away from your porch, or patio.

Before hanging any reflective things on your porch, check with your Home Owners Association (HOA) and/or local regulations to confirm that you aren’t breaking any rules, especially if your house is near a major road. Otherwise, your backyard deck and patio may be a more suitable place for shiny deterrents. 

3 Deter bird using noises


sound emitting device

Noises may not be as effective as reflective objects at keeping birds away (visual stimuli tend to be more dominating than audible, but that doesn’t mean they should be overlooked. On their own, noises can be easily ignored once the birds figure out that there is no perceived threat. However, when you pair a frightening noise with reflective light, you can successfully agitate birds and significantly increase your chances of keeping them away. Here are some ways to deter birds from using noises:

– Sound-emitting devices


There are a wide variety of sound systems designed to scare off birds from your property. Ultrasonic sound devices emit short waves of a specific frequency undetectable to humans but unpleasant to birds. Most of these sound systems are motion-activated, meaning they’ll only emit sounds when animals or people are nearby.

You’ll also find sound systems that emit noises that mimic the distress calls of other birds or predator sounds. Because many birds are prey animals, they will steer clear from areas they don’t consider safe. The biggest issue with this type of auditory deterrent is that you need to have a good idea of the species of bird invading your property to look for a sound system that mimics the correct distress call.

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– Windchimes


windchimes

Windchimes sound pleasant to the human ear (plus they have an undeniably pleasing aesthetic), but the random bursts of noise that they produce can be startling to a bird. These auditory deterrents come in multiple different styles, sounds, and colors, which means you can effectively keep birds away without compromising the ambiance of your porch, or patio. 

For the best results, consider going for metal wind chimes, as these can serve a dual purpose by emitting shiny, reflective light. Hang your wind chimes in the corner of your porch or patio furniture. If you have a bigger porch/patio, place several wind chimes 10-15 feet apart in the area and hang a couple more from nearby trees and your fence. The great thing about wind chimes is that they don’t make it obvious that you’re trying to scare away birds – they can blend in well with your patio decor. 

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– Tin cans


Based on the same concept as wind chimes, clinking tin cans are an effective auditory deterrent that you can use to annoy birds and startle them by reflecting light. This could be a fun DIY project with your little ones – don’t be afraid to personalize and decorate the tin cans before hanging them on your porch, or patio.

Remember, with auditory deterrents, birds can quickly become accustomed to different noises over time. Once they discover no danger, they will start to ignore the noise. To prevent this, make a point of periodically changing the frequency, volume, and sound patterns. If you’re using wind chimes, for example, look for varying sizes so that they make a wide range of noises. 

4. Scare birds away with unpleasant smells


lemon in water

Another effective method to keep birds away from your porch, or patio involves strategically applying scents that they find unpleasant. Keep in mind that regular reapplication is necessary when using unpleasant smells to get rid of birds, especially after it rains. Here are some pungent smells that birds detest:

– Chili pepper spray


On its own, chili pepper may not be strong enough to repel birds, but it will do the trick when mixed with vinegar. To make this solution, combine a dozen chili peppers, a half cup of distilled white vinegar, and half a gallon of water. Mix the ingredients thoroughly and then transfer the solution to a spray bottle. Apply the concoction on your patio, porch, and anywhere else you might have noticed birds lurking.

– Peppermint puffs


Peppermint essential oil is pungent, so you should dilute it before using it as a bird repellent. To reduce its concentration, mix 10 drops of peppermint oil, 5 drops of lemon oil, a quarter cup of water, and a quarter cup of vinegar. Mix thoroughly, then soak several cotton balls in the solution. Place the cotton balls strategically on your porch, and patio to keep birds away. You’ll need to re-soak the cotton balls regularly to keep the scent strong.

– Garlic oil


To prepare garlic oil, begin by crushing up 10 garlic cloves and adding them to olive oil. Allow the mixture to sit in the oil for a couple of hours, then transfer it to a spray bottle for easy application.

– Citrus


Birds detest the scent of citrus and will stay away if they detect the smell. To prepare this repellent, squeeze a lemon or two into a container and add a cup of water. Transfer to a spray bottle and apply it like an air freshener. In addition to keeping pesky birds away, your citrusy repellent will also fight off any unpleasant smells lingering on your porch, or patio.

– Cayenne pepper


To use cayenne pepper as a bird deterrent, mix it with some dish soap and water and spray the solution where necessary.

5. Use tactile deterrents


bird spikes on balcony

Tactile deterrents vary widely, from simple tricks like pouring baking soda on potential perching sites to installing bird spikes. 

– Baking soda


Applying baking soda to your patio, or porch is relatively straightforward – all you need to do is sprinkle the powdery substance on common perching areas, like eaves or the deck’s railing. No matter where you opt to apply the baking soda, remember to change it out after rain or snow. You’ll also need to apply a new coat whenever there is considerable wind. Baking soda works as a deterrent because birds detest how baking soda feels on their feet. When the areas they like to lurk in are covered in baking soda, they will stay away.

– Bird spikes 


If you don’t want to use baking soda, it might be worth investing in bird spikes. As the name suggests, these are specialized spikes designed to be sharp enough to discourage fowls from trying to land wherever they are placed. 

These tactile bird deterrents come in different shapes and sizes. Before buying them, observe your property to see what kinds of birds like to frequent your porch or patio. It’s also important to get the dimensions of the areas where you plan to install the spikes, and you’ll get a good idea of the most suitable shape and size to go for. 

Generally, you’ll want to opt for the narrowest set of spikes for most birds that you come across. The narrower the spikes, the less space available for the birds to land and/or nest. Next, look for a suitable glue (clear epoxy glue works exceptionally well) that will be durable even with changing weather conditions. Keep in mind you’ll need a caulk gun to administer the glue. Fortunately, you’ll likely find both of these items at your local hardware store. 

If you don’t want to use glue to install the bird spikes, consider screwing them to your porch, or patio. If this is your preferred method, then look for bird spikes with screw holes. You’ll also want to use self-tapping screws for a faster and easier project. 

While bird spikes aren’t necessarily sharp enough to pierce through human skin, you’ll want to take care where you put them. Curious kids, pets, and even stray animals can inadvertently hurt themselves when they come across these spikes.

6. Set up an awning or patio umbrella


If birds tend to poop on your patio while in flight, an awning may be just what you need to prevent these incidents. If you only want to protect a table and a couple of chairs, a simple patio umbrella may be more suitable.

7. Use an electric track system


Consider investing in an electric tack system that will give birds a harmless but unpleasant shock. Each track on this electric system features two braided conductors – one carries electric current directly from the charger, while the other current is from the ground. When an unsuspecting bird perches on the conductors, the circuit is completed, and it will be shocked. While the shocking effect is harmless, it is uncomfortable enough to keep the birds from coming back.

8. Use a decoy


Sometimes all you need to scare birds from your porch or patio is a fake predator decoy such as a plastic owl. If fowls spot statues of a bird of prey or other potential predators like foxes, snakes, or cats, they will steer clear of your property.

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9. Unleash your pet


dog on porch

The presence of a real predator like a cat or dog can also effectively scare away birds. All you need to do is let your pet roam your porch or patio for this technique. Keep in mind that you might have to deal with some dead birds your pet hunts.

Final thoughts


The methods of deterring birds mentioned above offer varying degrees of success depending on how you can execute them. It may be helpful to combine different methods and switch them out regularly to keep birds off your property completely.

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Last update on 2022-07-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Zoltan Szatmari

Zoltan is a test and industrial engineer from Europe who loves learning anything new and working on small projects. When he is not working, he is usually hiking or going to the cinema.

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