You might think gutters are just for rainwater, but feathered and furry critters find them pretty attractive. So why do birds and squirrels choose your gutters as their nesting area? And how can you stop them?
Let’s explore how to keep your gutters free from squirrels, birds, and other small critters.
Why are birds and squirrels in my gutters?
Gutters may seem like an odd place for animals to hang out, but there are a few reasons why they find gutters appealing.
Gutters provide a secluded and protected space away from predators. So birds see gutters as safe spots to build their nests and raise their chicks.
Squirrels and other small animals use gutters as pathways or hiding spots. Gutters provide them with an easy way to move around without being exposed to potential dangers.
What problems are caused by critters in my gutters?
When birds, squirrels, and other small animals make their way into your gutters, they can cause some serious problems.
Here are a few issues you might encounter:
Clogging and water overflow
Animals like birds and squirrels often use nesting materials to build their homes in gutters. These materials can quickly accumulate and clog up your gutters, preventing proper water flow.
When rainwater can't drain properly, it can overflow and cause water damage to your home's foundation and walls.
Gutter and roof damage
As birds build nests and leave behind debris in your gutters, it can lead to damage. The weight of the accumulated materials can put stress on your gutters, causing them to sag or even detach from your roof.
This can result in costly repairs or replacements for both your gutters and your roof.
Wild animals can carry pests and parasites that pose health risks to you and your family. From fleas and ticks to bacteria and diseases, these critters can introduce harmful substances into your home environment.
It's important to keep your gutters free of animals to minimize these health hazards.
How do I remove bird nests from my gutters?
DO NOT remove any nests that already have eggs or chicks.
Killing, trapping, or disturbing bird nests during nesting season (typically spring through early fall) is illegal in many states and can result in hefty penalties.
When dealing with birds nesting in your gutters or other unwanted areas, it's important to consult local and federal wildlife laws and regulations.
However, once a bird has established a nest in your roof, gutter, or elsewhere, it is important to handle the situation responsibly. Knocking down or relocating the nest on your property is not only illegal but can also pose health risks due to potential diseases carried by the birds.
Instead, consider reaching out to wildlife rescue or pest control specialists who can safely remove the nest for you. Alternatively, you can wait until late fall or early winter when nesting season is over to remove the nest and take preventative measures to discourage future nest-building activity.
What if the nest is empty or the bird has just started building the nest in my gutters?
If you encounter a bird in the early stages of nest building, the nest is empty, or it’s after nesting season (late fall or wintertime), you can remove the nest. But remember to prioritize the well-being of both your home, you, and the surrounding ecosystem.
Here are some guidelines to follow:
Prompt removal: Remove nests as soon as possible, before any eggs or young birds are present. This ensures that you're not disturbing or harming any wildlife during the process.
Protective gear: Wear protective gear such as gloves and a mask while removing nests. This helps prevent direct contact with any potential pests or parasites associated with the bird nest.
Disinfection: After removing the nest, disinfect the area to eliminate any harmful bacteria or pests that may have been present. This helps maintain a clean and safe environment.
Call professionals: Consider calling a gutter cleaning company to clean out your gutters for you.
How do I get rid of birds, squirrels, and other animals in my gutters?
Keeping animals out of your gutters is essential to prevent damage and maintain the integrity of your home.
Here are some strategies you can use:
Maintenance and regular cleaning
Regular gutter cleaning: It's essential to clean your gutters regularly to remove debris like leaves, twigs, and dirt. This not only ensures proper water flow but also discourages birds from nesting in your gutters.
Professional services: Consider hiring professional gutter cleaning services for thorough and safe maintenance. Professionals have the expertise and proper equipment to effectively clean your gutters, ensuring that they are in optimal condition.
Roof bird spikes: Place spikes on your roof to prevent birds from landing and nesting in your gutters. These spikes are safe for birds and discourage them from making your gutters their home.
Hardware cloth or steel mesh: Cover your gutters with a fine mesh material to stop animals from entering. This barrier still allows water to pass through while blocking access for animals.
Repellents and deterrents
Bird repellent scents or homemade remedies: Use scents like garlic oil or other homemade solutions that repel birds. Apply these near your gutters to discourage birds from nesting there.
Decoy predators: Set up fake owls or snakes near your gutters to scare away birds and other small animals. The presence of these decoys can make critters think twice about making a home in your gutters.
Ultrasonic bird repellers: Install devices that emit high-frequency sounds that are unpleasant to birds. These repellers are inaudible to humans but effective in deterring birds from nesting in your gutters.
Alternative nesting options
Birdhouses: Provide alternative nesting options for birds by installing birdhouses in your yard. This way, they'll be more likely to choose these designated spots instead of your gutters.
To specifically keep squirrels out of your gutters, consider these additional methods:
Trim tree branches: Trim any tree branches that hang over or near your gutters. This prevents squirrels from living in or accessing your gutters.
Squirrel baffles: Install squirrel baffles, which are cone-shaped devices, around your downspouts or on the gutters themselves. These baffles make it difficult for squirrels to climb up and access your gutters.
Will gutter guards keep birds away?
Gutter guards are effective at preventing birds from entering and nesting in your gutters. These specially designed covers act as a physical barrier, blocking access for birds. This helps your gutters function properly and prevents potential damage caused by bird nests.
For instance, the Gutter Shutter system features a completely enclosed gutter that still allows water to flow freely while keeping out debris and potential nesting materials. This is one of the many advantages of having gutter guards installed.
Will gutter guards keep squirrels out?
Gutter guards can help keep squirrels out of your gutters, but they may not completely keep squirrels from finding their way onto your gutters and roof.
To specifically prevent squirrels from entering your gutters, trim any tree branches that hang over or near your gutters. This makes it harder for squirrels to jump onto your roof and access the gutters in the first place.
Protecting your gutters from birds and squirrels
While birds and squirrels may find your gutters a cozy spot for nesting or a convenient pathway, their presence can lead to significant problems like clogging and water damage. Thankfully, with a mix of regular cleaning, and smart preventive measures like gutter guards, you can effectively keep these critters at bay.
So take these steps to ensure your gutters remain free of birds and squirrels, safeguarding your home and contributing to the well-being of the local wildlife.
Stay proactive and keep those gutters critter-free!