Skip to content

Can You Remove A Birds Nest?

There are strict regulations in place in the UK to protect birds and their nests. The Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 details when you can legally move a nest.

Of course, in the UK, we love our birds, but there are times when a nest causes damage to a building or structure. When a large group of birds have built nests, they can damage and inconvenience homeowners and business proprietors.

In this guide, we will answer your questions regarding the law and nest removal and consider some ways you can prevent birds from becoming a nuisance on your property.

Pigeon eggs found near guttering

Why can’t I remove or destroy a bird’s nest?

Disturbing a nest in use could lead to the death or injury of wild birds or their babies. Occasionally, birds abandon their nest, eggs or young ones if disturbed.

For this reason, the law prevents anyone from moving or damaging nests while they are being built or when they are being used. Only a few exceptions to this ruling can be applied under license.

What happens if I break the law regarding bird nests?

Many people are unfamiliar with the law covering removal or damage to bird nests and the protection given to birds, their eggs and their young.

There is a maximum penalty of six months imprisonment for anyone found guilty of breaking the law, even if the damage is caused by irresponsible building work, tree surgery or hedge cutting rather than a deliberate attempt to remove them. Those prosecuted also risk an unlimited fine for every bird, egg or nest affected.

To avoid becoming a lawbreaker, it would be best to avoid carrying out any work that poses a risk to birds during the nesting season. 

Remember, other wildlife species are also protected, such as roosting bats.

Can I remove a nest that is no longer being used?

Once a nest has been entirely abandoned, you can remove some nests. There are some exceptions regarding birds that are known to reuse their nests. For up-to-date details on these birds, check here

Beware of birds with more than one brood in a season, as they will not abandon the nest until they have finished breeding.

You could also consider leaving the nest in place if it is not causing you any harm, as it can benefit the birds. Many birds use old nests for roosting outside of the breeding season.

Some birds like to reuse their old nests in the next season. Some breeds will use other birds’ nests for their use.There are regulations for clearing out your nesting boxes too. You are only permitted to remove unhatched eggs between 1st September and 31st January, which must be disposed of safely.

What damage can bird nests do?

Pathway covered in Pigeon Guano

There are some reasons why you might wish to discourage birds from nesting in your buildings.

Excessive bird droppings

As well as looking unsightly, excessive bird droppings can cause damage to your building. 

The uric acid in the droppings can affect stone, paint and metal. Historical buildings are particularly vulnerable to costly damage. 

Businesses may lose custom if bird droppings cause a nuisance.

Damage to Solar Panels and Air Conditioning

Roof-based solar panels are attractive to roosting pigeons, which can damage the panels’ wires or the roof itself. Air conditioning units mounted on walls can be damaged by droppings and present a health hazard to engineers who maintain them.

Cars and Vehicles

Parking around offices and retail parks can be impacted by roosting pigeons or seagulls. Their droppings will attack the paintwork on the vehicles and can cause permanent damage.

Food Contamination

Birds entering production areas can contaminate food, create waste, and cause health and safety issues.

Drainage and Ventilation Systems

Pigeons and starlings like to build their nests under the eaves of roofs. Their nests can block the guttering and downpipes, leading to drainage issues. 

Nests can also obstruct ventilation, such as chimneys or ducts.

Fire Risk

Nesting material can be highly flammable, and an excess can lead to fire outbreaks.

How can I stop birds from building nests on my property?

It is essential to think about prevention methods before the nesting season. In the UK, the nesting season is from 1st February to the end of August. It is best to carry out prevention methods during the winter.

You may be able to install some measures yourself. Still, if you have a potentially more significant problem, getting support from a Pest Control Company is best. 

They can advise you on the best removal methods and establish a successful legal prevention system.

There are two main prevention methods for discouraging birds from nesting or roosting.

Anti-Perch System

You can install anti-perch devices such as spikes to deter birds from nesting. Angled spikes make it challenging for birds to land, but they do not cause any harm to the birds.

When installed by a professional and inspected regularly, they are the most humane and effective deterrent method.

Bird Netting and Mesh

Netting is a safe, long-term solution for keeping birds away from specific areas.

If installed professionally, the correct tension and size can be fitted to reduce any risk of trapping birds.

Netting works well under solar panels, around chimney stacks and under eaves to deter birds from nesting.

Other Deterrent Ideas

If you want to discourage particular birds, such as pigeons, from nesting in your buildings, you can carry out some simple prevention ideas to discourage them from your outdoor space or garden.

  • Choose squirrel-proof bird feeders that are too small for pigeons to perch on. 
  • Remove moss and plants from gutters that could be used as nesting material.
  • Place anti-perch spikes on your fences to discourage the larger birds from stopping.

If you have a problem with bird nests or roosting, please get in touch with EWS Group today. We have extensive experience in successful fauna management. Our specialist knowledge helps us plan legal, humane methods of prevention and removal without causing harm to wildlife.