Removal/rescue of bird's nest under the eaves of my back patio
June 2, 2014 3:28 PM   Subscribe

I'm not sure how to attach a picture of if I can. Our association is saying it's not their responsibility to remove it. I don't know if the bird/eggs in the nest are dead or alive. The big bird hovering over the nest hasn't moved in a week. There are daily bird droppings directly under the nest on our back patio. I'm an animal lover. I don't want those birds/eggs killed. Who can I call in Orange County, California to help me with me with this? I did a Google search but couldn't find anything for this particular situation. Any ideas? Thanks much. Sincerely, htm
posted by htm to Pets & Animals (25 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You can upload a picture to any photo sharing site (Imgur is easy because you don't need to make an account) and then post a link to the picture.

Sorry, I don't have any advice about removing the nest.
posted by insectosaurus at 3:36 PM on June 2, 2014

Just to clarify, what is the problem with just leaving the nest in place? It's unclear from your question.
posted by dialetheia at 3:38 PM on June 2, 2014 [3 favorites]

The parent bird is unlikely to stay in the nest after the babies have hatched, grown, and left the nest. It's quite likely that the parents and babies will leave in a matter of weeks. Can you leave the nest undisturbed until you see the birds gone and the dropping abate completely? Disturbing the nest while there are eggs or fledglings will be bad for them and shouldn't be done unless the birds are in immediate danger.
posted by quince at 3:42 PM on June 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

If the issue is just the droppings, would it be acceptable to put a cheap-o tarp down for the few weeks that the birds will be there, then just throw the tarp away when they leave?
posted by dialetheia at 3:44 PM on June 2, 2014

Quince, since the bird hasn't moved at all in the last week, I'm wondering if it's dead and if the droppings are coming from other birds flying around to inspect the nest. Could that be possible? I like your idea of leaving the next alone for a few weeks. It's causing a huge build up of bird poop on my back patio. I'm out there often to clean up after my pups. Nothing has dropped on my head YET.
posted by htm at 3:45 PM on June 2, 2014

Could you take a picture of or describe the bird? If we could identify it, we could give you more specific advice about its life history and behaviors. It might be perfectly normal for one bird to remain there at all times incubating the eggs, although if it hasn't moved a muscle the whole time that's less likely.
posted by dialetheia at 3:50 PM on June 2, 2014

It's against the law in CA to disturb an active bird nest. And if there is a bird sitting in it, that's active. Leave it be. It's probably sitting on eggs and will be out of your hair in a few weeks. More info
posted by cecic at 3:50 PM on June 2, 2014 [5 favorites]

Thank you insectosaurus. If I did this correctly, here's the link to the picture.
posted by htm at 3:50 PM on June 2, 2014

Can you guys see the picture from the link I sent? Thank you ALL for your very helpful feedback. I told our association that we would take it from here.
posted by htm at 3:57 PM on June 2, 2014

Many species of birds use freeze-in-place as a method of not attracting predator attention. I'll bet she's moving, just not when you are around. Also, dead things smell.

Looks like a cliff swallow nest, how cute! Incubation takes a little over two weeks, about a month before the hatchlings fledge and leave.

You cannot remove a cliff swallow nest in California between Feb 15th and Sept 1st w/o a permit from California Dept. of Fish and Game as they are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. Outside of that time frame, a well aimed garden hose will melt the nest off your eaves (and make a giant muddy mess below).
posted by jamaro at 4:05 PM on June 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

I've had nesting birds in flowerpots and the parent who is tending the nest is often motionless like a bird statue. If there are droppings, I'd assume they're from the parents and not other birds who are coming by to look. If you can, try to minimize activity around the nest and wait several weeks until the droppings cease. I know that the droppings can be a nuisance, but keeping the area around the nest undisturbed would be ideal if you can swing it.
posted by quince at 4:07 PM on June 2, 2014

Thank you jamaro and quince. Will do. I love animals and wouldn't want to do anything to disturb the nest. We have never had a bird's nest there before - only wasp nests. So I'm a little scared. So I should give it about a month, undisturbed, and hope they fly away? I will clean up the bird droppings, put down a tarp like dialetheia suggested, and wait. I will keep this thread open until this is resolved. Thank you for your support. I have quite an imagination. I keep thinking of the movie "The Birds" by Alfred Hitchcock. Will I go out there one day to clean up after the pups and be attacked?Or will mother bird poop on my head?! Gosh, I hope not. :)
posted by htm at 4:18 PM on June 2, 2014

You have to wait until Sept. 2nd before you can do anything to the nest, even if there are no birds in sight.

Wear a hat.
posted by jamaro at 4:23 PM on June 2, 2014

To solve the poop problem, I'd treat your porch like one big bird cage. Instead of a tarp, put a stack of paper grocery bags down on the poopy area. Weigh them down so they don't blow away. When the top bag gets unbearably poopy, remove it. Much easier than tarp maintenance.

I also agree that it's a swallow's nest, and that the bird sitting on the eggs is doing so while alive.
posted by mudpuppie at 4:23 PM on June 2, 2014

Thank you, jamaro and mudpuppie. Great idea about the grocery bags. LOL about the hat. Naturally, it's MY JOB to go out there daily to clean up the poop. It's not my husband's "thang". Thank goodness he is handy in a multitude of other ways. :)
posted by htm at 4:33 PM on June 2, 2014

Seconding jamaro and mudpuppie's comments. It's a swallow's nest, and it's illegal under the Migratory Birds Act to remove one of their nests if it's active.

The grocery bags sound like a great idea. It takes about two weeks to incubate the eggs, and then two weeks to feed the nestlings in the nest. Then one day, they'll suddenly be off and flying!
posted by scrambles at 5:27 PM on June 2, 2014

Lucky you .... getting to watch the young chicks emerge and grow!

We have swallows every year at my workplace and it is messy but very enjoyable to watch as the parent birds feed the young ones: you eventually see the big yellow open mouths of the youngsters as they clamour for food, then they become too large for the nest and eventually fly off.

You're in for a treat. Enjoy!
posted by mightshould at 4:29 PM on June 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

The mother bird is gone. I'm assuming she flew away with her babies. I haven't see the mother bird in the nest since 6/2, my last post. They must have been in there much longer than I thought. The nest is up high. I never saw the young ones. I won't even think about removing the nest until after 9/2. I'm not even sure if should remove it or how to do so if I wanted to. Since I never saw the babies, I'm hoping they are okay. If I were to climb up on a ladder and look inside the nest, I'm a little afraid of what I would find.
posted by htm at 10:15 PM on June 8, 2014

In my experience, it's not uncommon at all to never see the babies, much to my baby-crazy dismay.
posted by quince at 2:23 PM on June 9, 2014

LOL Quince. After 9/2, do you suggest I remove the nest, let it fall down by itself (if it does that), or just leave it be?
posted by htm at 3:45 PM on June 9, 2014

I'd just remove it after 9/2. With any luck, a fresh nest will appear in spring.
posted by quince at 4:53 PM on June 9, 2014

Thank you.

I will keep this thread open for a little while longer.
posted by htm at 5:12 PM on June 9, 2014

Swallows usually return to the same nesting site year after year (ref. The Swallows of Capistrano). They are colony nesters too (meaning they like to build nests next to other swallow nests) so if you do not want your eaves to host an ever growing condo complex of them, hose the nest down this winter during the months when it is permitted to do so.
posted by jamaro at 5:32 PM on June 9, 2014

Thanks much, Jamaro! You mentioned winter. Should I not consider doing so as early as September after 9/2?
posted by htm at 9:44 AM on June 10, 2014

Thank you again for your feedback. I have not removed the nest yet but I will make sure to do so before 2/15. I will keep this thread open until I remove the nest in case any questions come up during the removal or post removal process. (Delay due to trouble with my hands. Will be posting a question about that in another thread).
posted by htm at 5:22 PM on December 30, 2014

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