Birds That Build Nests On Houses: Identification And Removal Guide

Finding a bird’s nest attached to the exterior of your home can be a surprising sight. If you’ve noticed nests appearing on the sides of your house and want to identify the culprits, this guide covers which bird species build these nests and how to remove them safely.

In brief, swallows, robins, mourning doves, barn swallows and phoebes are common birds known to build mud or grass nests on homes. While removing them can be tricky, there are humane methods to coax birds to nest elsewhere.

Common Bird Species That Build House Nest


Swallows are known for their distinctive forked tails and graceful flight patterns. They are skilled builders and often choose to make their nests on the sides of houses. Swallows typically build cup-shaped nests out of mud, which they attach to the eaves or other suitable surfaces.

These nests are lined with feathers, grass, and other soft materials to provide a comfortable environment for their young. The presence of swallows can be beneficial as they feed on insects, but their nests can cause some inconvenience.

If you encounter a swallow nest on your house, it is important to remember that they are protected by law in many countries. It is best to wait until the birds have left the nest before removing it.


Robins are well-known backyard birds that often build their nests on or near houses. These birds typically construct cup-shaped nests out of twigs, grass, and other plant materials. They often choose locations such as window ledges, porch lights, or other sheltered areas.

Robins are known for their beautiful songs and their tendency to start singing early in the morning. While their presence can be enjoyable, their nests can sometimes cause problems, such as blocking ventilation or causing a mess with droppings.

If you need to remove a robin’s nest, it is best to do so when it is not actively being used.

Mourning doves

Mourning doves are a common sight in many residential areas, and they often choose to build their nests on houses. These birds build simple nests made of twigs and grass, usually in a sturdy location such as a window ledge or a tree branch.

Mourning doves are known for their mournful cooing sounds and their gentle nature. If you find a mourning dove nest on your house, it is important to be cautious when removing it. These birds are protected by law in many places, so it is best to wait until the nest is no longer being used before taking any action.

Barn swallows

Barn swallows are aptly named for their preference for building their nests in barns, but they may also choose to nest on houses. These birds construct cup-shaped nests out of mud, which they attach to vertical surfaces such as walls or beams.

Barn swallows are known for their distinctive forked tails and their acrobatic flying abilities. While their nests can be a nuisance due to the mess they create, it is important to remember that they are protected by law in many areas.

If you need to remove a barn swallow nest from your house, it is best to wait until the birds have finished nesting.


Phoebes are small, insect-eating birds that often choose to build their nests on houses. These birds construct simple nests made of mud and moss, which they attach to sheltered areas such as walls or under eaves. Phoebes are known for their distinctive calls, which sound like their name “fee-bee.”

While their nests may not cause significant issues, they can be a source of mess and noise. If you need to remove a phoebe’s nest, it is best to do so when it is not actively being used. It is important to note that phoebes are protected by law in many countries and should not be harmed.

Why Birds Nest on Houses

Birds have a natural instinct to build nests for breeding and raising their young. While they typically prefer to nest in trees and natural habitats, some species have adapted to nesting on houses. There are several reasons why birds choose houses as their nesting spots.

Attracted to ledges and overhangs

One reason birds nest on houses is because they are attracted to ledges and overhangs. These features mimic the natural ledges found on cliffs and rock formations, providing a secure and elevated location for their nests.

Birds such as swallows, sparrows, and pigeons are commonly known to nest on ledges and overhangs of houses.

Abundant nesting material nearby

Another reason birds choose houses as nesting spots is the availability of abundant nesting material nearby. Houses often have materials like twigs, leaves, and grass clippings in their surroundings, making it convenient for birds to gather these materials for constructing their nests.

This proximity to nesting material saves birds time and energy in searching for suitable nesting material elsewhere.

See houses as safe nesting spots

Birds perceive houses as safe nesting spots due to their sheltered and protected nature. Houses provide a level of protection from predators, severe weather conditions, and other potential threats. Additionally, houses can offer a stable and comfortable environment for birds to build their nests and raise their young.

It is important to note that while birds nesting on houses can be fascinating to observe, they can also cause certain issues such as mess, noise, and potential damage to the house. If you are facing issues with birds nesting on your house, it is advisable to seek professional assistance for their safe removal and relocation.

Removing and Relocating House Bird Nests

When it comes to dealing with bird nests on your house, it’s important to approach the situation with care and consideration for the birds’ well-being. Here are some guidelines to follow when removing and relocating house bird nests:

Don’t remove active nests with eggs/babies

It’s crucial to avoid disturbing active bird nests that contain eggs or baby birds. Removing or relocating these nests can cause stress to the birds and even lead to the abandonment of the nest. It’s best to wait until the nesting season is over and the birds have fledged before taking any action.

If you’re unsure whether a nest is active or not, observe it from a distance for a few days. If you see adult birds frequently entering or leaving the nest, it’s likely active, and you should refrain from removing it.

Installing preventive measures

If you’re dealing with recurring bird nest issues on your house, it may be beneficial to install preventive measures to discourage birds from building nests in unwanted areas. Some effective methods include:

  • Netting: Installing netting or mesh around potential nesting sites can prevent birds from accessing these areas.
  • Spikes or wires: Placing spikes or wires on ledges or other favored nesting spots can make it difficult for birds to perch or build nests.
  • Visual deterrents: Hanging reflective objects or using scare devices like owl decoys can deter birds from nesting on your house.

By implementing these preventive measures, you can create a less attractive environment for birds to build their nests, thus reducing the likelihood of future nesting problems.

Creating alternative nesting sites

As responsible homeowners, we can help birds find suitable nesting sites by providing alternative options in our yards. This can be done by:

  • Nesting boxes: Installing birdhouses or nesting boxes specifically designed for different bird species can provide them with safe and suitable nesting spots.
  • Planting trees and shrubs: Adding trees and shrubs to your yard can offer natural nesting sites for birds.
  • Leaving dead trees or branches: Dead trees or branches can provide cavity-nesting birds with ideal nesting opportunities.

Creating alternative nesting sites not only helps birds find suitable locations but also contributes to the overall biodiversity and ecological balance in your area.

For more information on bird nest removal and relocation, you can visit websites like Audubon or Bird Watcher’s Digest, which provide valuable insights and guidance.


While having a bird’s nest appear on your home can be a nuisance, it’s important to identify the bird and remove its nest humanely. With some simple preventive measures and providing alternative nesting spots, you can diplomatically convince birds to take their nesting business elsewhere.

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