Birds on my porch make the cats FREAK!
April 21, 2007 12:39 PM   Subscribe

These two birds insist on building a nest on my porch. Thus, my cats are freaking out. How can I get these birds to take a hike? More detail inside, this isn't as easy as it sounds!

I live in a second floor apartment. My cats are indoor cats, but they like to hang out on the balcony and sleep and do cat-like things out there.

Spring finally arrived yesterday, so I opened up the porch to let the cats out and immediately noticed two birds who were chirping like crazy because they started to build a nest. So of course the cats start freaking out and then the birds start swooping around the cats and it's bird and cat mayhem out there. I finally bring the cats inside and the birds seem to get the idea and fly away.

Today is an even *nicer* day. So I open the balcony door, and those two birds are back again and now they are trying to build a NEW nest on the other side of the balcony!

I don't want the cats to attack the birds. I realize it will make my cats feel totally awesome and proud of themselves, but the birds should be able to live and be birds. I also don't want my cats falling of the balcony trying to get the birds. (Being indoor cats, neither one is as stealthy as they think.)

So, is there anything I can do to get the message to these birds that they are not welcome and to not return tomorrow and try to make yet another nest on my balcony? Like bird repellent or fake plastic snakes or anything?!?!
posted by punkrockrat to Pets & Animals (15 answers total)
Supposedly fake owls/owl scarecrows help in keeping other birds away.
posted by ericb at 12:49 PM on April 21, 2007

I don't know where to find them, but there are recordings of birds of prey that you can use - an aural version of ericb's suggestion. My uncle used to use them in his barn to keep birds from nesting there, and it worked.
posted by bassjump at 12:51 PM on April 21, 2007

Sometimes, hanging aluminium pie pans from string to flash about in the wind will freak them out and scare them away but birds building a nest can be very persistent. If you can, knock their nesting material out of the place they are stashing it. Hopefully, they will get the message and try someplace else. If you aren't squeamish, you could try smearing some cat urine around the places they are checking out, maybe?
posted by Foam Pants at 12:53 PM on April 21, 2007

All the big vineyards around here use mylar to scare off birds. Works great and looks rather pretty when the breeze picks them up and the light glints off them in pretty flashes of color. Just just cut up one of those mylar party balloons into 12-18" strips, tie to the porch, then let the wind do its work.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 1:05 PM on April 21, 2007

Rubber snake will probably work. Birds used to get in my grill and try to make a nest, I put out a rubber snake and that solved the problem.

Try there or your nearest Discovery store.
posted by T.D. Strange at 1:13 PM on April 21, 2007

Mylar strips are also sold as "flashtape"
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 1:16 PM on April 21, 2007

I would love to see your balcony with fake owls, speakers blasting hawk calls, aluminum plates hanging down and fake snakes strewn about.

There is an easier way: Remove the nest. If they rebuild, repeat. They'll figure it out.

You can also remove the nest and put a rock or other large object on the ledge they're using (assuming they're nesting on a ledge).
posted by gavia at 1:25 PM on April 21, 2007

I'm a huge fan of these folks from BirdX. We use their pigeon spikes to discourage birds from building nests in the eaves of our house.
posted by jeanmari at 1:44 PM on April 21, 2007

Vineyards also use loud cannons to scare off birds.

Doubtful whether you have access to a cannon.
posted by iguanapolitico at 1:44 PM on April 21, 2007

If the birds are in the process of building a nest, or have already built a nest, disturbing them may be a federal offense. This applies to migratory birds, which encompasses a huge number of North American species. If they're pigeons or house sparrows or mourning doves, this probably does not apply.

Breeding season only lasts a few weeks; if you (and you cats) can hold out, wait until the young have fledged and then institute nest-proofing measures.
posted by rtha at 1:50 PM on April 21, 2007

What gavia said. Remove the nest each day and soon enough the birds will move on.
posted by y2karl at 2:45 PM on April 21, 2007

Wow, I have almost the exact same situation going on, and was thinking about asking this. The rubber snake on my desk is going to finally come in handy...
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 3:24 PM on April 21, 2007

I'd let the cats out on the porch, but supervised. The birds will either get the message that your porch is an inappropriate place for a nest, or they will continue building and (probably) be fine. We had a bluebird box in our front yard one year that was about 4 feet off the ground. Some swallows thought it would be a sweet spot for a nest, and the cat would either sit in front of or on top of the box. The swallows raised 2 clutches that year and the cat never caught any of them. It was pretty funny to see the cat getting dive-bombed though.

Swallows fly pretty fast, so YMMV, of course.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 4:56 PM on April 21, 2007

A nylon string threaded around 4 nails or more, crisscrossing about one inch off the surface. It's cheap, nobody's hurt, it works: they don't like it.
posted by bru at 5:42 PM on April 21, 2007

Ok, I ended up going out there when the pesky birds were away doing something, and I got rid of both of the nests they started to build. I felt bad, but hey, too bad birds.

I forgot to mention in my post that not only did I not want my cats to kill or try to kill the birds, but I didn't want the birds pecking at my cats either!

Thanks for the info everyone.

(I think it would be funny if I followed *all* of the advice above. My neighbors would hate me.)
posted by punkrockrat at 6:12 PM on April 21, 2007

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