how to keep birds off porch

How to Keep Birds Off Your Porch

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There are few things worse than a build-up of bird poop splattered across your deck or porch. Walking outside to shoo them away is never permanent. They always come back, flaunting their feathered behinds to mock you. 

Well, no more. 

Today is the day you get the upper hand. Today is the day you become the ruler of your porch and take back what’s yours. No longer will you be the victim. They may have won all of the battles. But, you, my friend, will win the war. 

Today you will learn heaps of tips and tricks to prevent birds from coming to your porch and how to make it unpleasant for them if they decide to take the chance anyway. 

I know it’s been hard—constantly cleaning up bird poop is no easy task. But if you have persevered through that, you can take the time to implement these ideas and keep the birds away for good!

What can I use to keep birds off my porch?

1 – Annoying Light

Birds don’t like getting flashed in the eyes with light, especially when it’s bright beams of sunlight. You know how it feels when someone purposely directs sunlight into your eyeballs with their cell phone…yeah, it’s irritating. 

A few reflective measures you can use are:

Reflective tape

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This tape is metallic, super shiny, and makes noise in the wind. You can either hang pieces of it like ornaments, or you can string it out like garland or streamers. It’s not necessarily the most eye appealing, but it can be fairly effective because it provides a visual and audible deterrent. The more stimuli present in a deterrent, the greater its chances of effectiveness. 


Do you have an excess collection of old CDs collecting dust somewhere because you use online music streaming services? Me too. Give them a new purpose as a bird repellent. They’re shiny and can twist and turn when hung on wire or string. 


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If you can find a bunch of mirrors, you can hang them, prop them up on your porch railing, or attach them to your siding. They serve the same purpose by blasting sunlight back out. Not to mention if a bird catches its reflection, it might not want to come back because it may think it’s a potential competitor. If you can find cool frames, this method might have a really cool aesthetic and be one of the more visually appealing options. 

Twisting Spiral Rods

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These are similar to wind chimes, such that they hang and turn in the wind, but they lack the noise component. To really drive the point, hang them up alongside wind chimes. Remember, the more stimuli the better! Speaking of added stimuli, these rods are super reflective and have the bonus of being able to move, which may make the birds hesitate to land. Shiny and startling—it’s a win!


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Pinwheels that are all metallic (preferably the same color as the reflective tape, aka silver) could be effective if placed in the right places. Since they are light, they can be easily mounted and placed really wherever you want. The only downside is that you need a good breeze to get them going. That’s why you should opt for the silver ones in case the wind is quiet, so it still provides the reflectiveness. 

2 – Decoys

An owl decoy, perched up looking over some tree branches.

Putting out decoys of potential predators is a way to scare off the birds. Statues of birds of prey are one option, such as hawks or owls, but also snakes, foxes, or cats. Set them up on your deck railing or hang them (hang the birds, it makes more sense than a hanging fox.)

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If you go this route, make sure to have some variability. The pesky birds will get used to the decoys after a while once they realize they’re not actually in any real danger. To avoid complacency, move your decoy around to different spots and cycle through a variety of them. 

3 – Noises

Noises may not be as deterring as reflective light or decoys, since visual stimuli are generally more dominating than audible, but that doesn’t mean they should be forgotten about! By themselves, noises can be easy to ignore once no threat is actually perceived.  But, pairing an annoying noise with an annoying light is just super agitating and greatly increases your chances of getting rid of those pesky poppers.

Wind chimes

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Wind chimes sound nice to us, but random bursts of noise can be startling to a bird. In order to keep this stimulus novel, change out the chimes periodically for different kinds of sounds and change their location.

Tin Cans

The same concept as wind chimes, clinking tin cans are annoying to birds and can be startling in the right moments. If you plan on using these, they will likely be a DIY project. This could be something fun to do if you have kids. They can be really personalized and decorated and a fun display of your kids work. Pictures hung on the fridge aren’t scaring those birds! Tin cans, the new fridge artwork. 


Ultrasonic is a debated sound source to drive away birds. Essentially, short waves of a certain frequency are emitted from a box when the motion sensor is tripped. These waves are really unpleasant to the bird and cause it to fly away. Apparently, there is debate as to whether or not the birds can actually hear the sound. Unfortunately, humans are unable to hear it and I highly doubt the greater population has research equipment to determine if the birds can hear or not. However, we are sure that wildlife and your pet cat and dog can hear it, so if you’re taking your pup out for a pee or if your kitty is an outside cat, this may not be the best choice! 

4 – Bad Smells

No one likes unpleasant odors. There’s a chance the birds bothering you won’t hang around if there’s unpleasant scents invading their nostrils. You can buy bird repellent or you can make your own. Just make sure to reapply the sprays every week or after it rains.


A mixture of lemon and water will make your porch smell nice for a bit and keep the birds back. To add to this, you can lay out slices of lemon as well. 


Turns out garlic is not just for vampires. Crush up some garlic cloves and add them to olive oil. Let the mixture sit in the fridge for a few days and then spray it wherever the birds are. 

Chili pepper

Pairing chilli pepper with vinegar and water is another concoction to help. It won’t harm the birds, but it will gross them out enough to leave you alone. 

Cayenne pepper

This also won’t hurt the birds, it will just deter them. Mix up some cayenne pepper with some dish soap and water and spray it where you need it. 

What can I do to keep them from nesting on my porch?

All the above measures keep birds from hanging out on your deck railings and will hopefully translate to keeping them from building nests. But, if you’ve had nests in the past or want to prevent nests in the future, you’ll need to take more preventative action. Remember, for many birds—like songbirds—it’s illegal to destroy active nests. Once they’ve made their home, you can’t touch it (and the fines are hefty.) So proactive prevention is key!

1 – Remove potential nesting sites

If there are any holes or crevices, patch them up or stuff them so no birds can enter. No matter how big or small they are, get them all covered. It doesn’t take much space for a bird to build a nest or weasel their way in. There are copper mesh balls specifically made to stuff holes for the purpose of blocking out birds.

2 – Bird Spikes

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Bird spikes are a great way to keep birds from building nests where you don’t want them. They are also known as an anti-roosting spike or roost modification. They are essentially strips of spikes that are several inches wide and many feet long that prevent a bird from landing or nesting. There’s many different styles, some that are low profile and others that are a bit more intense. You can modify the length to fit whatever you’re putting them on, whether it’s deck railing or the top of light fixtures. 

3 – Bird netting

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There are a few different sizes and materials of bird netting, so make sure to pay attention. You’ll want a netting with a small hole to keep everyone out. You can use this netting to block off your eaves and gutters. These can be difficult places to keep nests out of, but bird netting will make it that much easier. The first several days of having it installed, make sure no birds have squeezed their way through, because they will have a really hard time getting back out! 

And Remember…

Because of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, it’s illegal to damage, move, or destroy active nests without a permit. Active meaning there’s eggs or babies inside. A nest under construction prior to egg laying is not active and can be removed. 

This Act protects hundreds of species, and you can look up the full list on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website. Species not protected include non-native species such as the European Starling and House Sparrow. Their nests can be removed regardless of eggs or babies inside. Just remember to be humane and compassionate.


12 Hacks To Stop Birds From Pestering Your Porch. (2018, June 20). Retrieved 2020, from 

9 Bird Scares That Will Work Its Magic On Your Property. (2018, June 27). Retrieved 2020, from 

Clark, J. (2020, June 24). Keeping Birds Away – 3 Homemade Bird Repellent Spray Recipes. Retrieved 2020, from 

Enterprises, A. (2019, June 27). Utilizing Bird Repellent To Keep Birds And Pests Away From Your Porch. Retrieved July, 2020, from 

Harsch, C. (2018, December 15). How to Keep Birds From Nesting on Porches. Retrieved 2020, from 

Moore, V. (2019, February 14). How to Repel Birds: Bird Repellent and Deterrent Options. Retrieved 2020, from 

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