How to Get a Bird Out of Your Garage the Easy Way
Author: Rick Worst | Editor: Omar Alonso
Review & Research: Jen Worst & Chris Miller
Do you live in an area with plenty of birds? It's satisfying to wake up in the morning to the sound of birds chirping at sunrise. But it's not great when nesting season arrives, which is why you're here asking how to get a bird out of your garage. When birds get the feeling to start the breeding season, they start tearing up everything in sight to make their nests.
While most birds make their nests in trees and on top of tall structures, many end up entering homes and garages to build their nests. When birds decide to set up shop in your garage, it creates a health and safety hazard for your home and your family.
Birds are beautiful, but they're also destructive. If they decide to start nesting in your garage, they can tear up insulation and damage wiring, presenting a fire risk to your home. You need to keep the birds out of your garage during nesting season.
So, if you have birds building and breeding in your garage, what do you do to stop them and chase them away? This post gives you plenty of useful ideas to keep these avian pests off your property.
Why Do Birds Fly Into Your Garage?
Birds can find their way into your garage for one of three basic reasons:
- Accidentally - The bird didn’t realize it was flying or hopping into an enclosed space. Many garages contain additional doors and windows that lead birds to believe they can pass straight through. After discovering they can’t. They might panic and get stuck.
- To Look for Food - You boost the odds of birds entering your garage if you store pet food or personal stockpiles there. Once inside, birds may get stuck.
- To Build a Nest - Numerous bigger and smaller birds nest in buildings. Garages are often seen as a safe haven and an appropriate place to nest.
The appropriate action to get a bird out of your garage depends on why it’s there.
How to Get a Bird That Accidentally Flew In Out of Your Garage
Do you live in a wildlife-rich area and have a habit of leaving your garage door open while you’re home and the weather is nice? It’s almost inevitable that a bird will wander into your garage sooner or later.
Birds that accidentally fly into your garage may think they can pass through, especially if there’s a window or open door on one of the other walls. Sometimes, they’ll be right — and you wind up with a bird in your home.
Birds that accidentally made their way into your garage will look bewildered when you come face-to-face with them. They’ll frantically fly around, hoping to find a way out, and even risk injuring themselves in the process. Meanwhile, they’ll create a giant mess.
Want to help the bird find its way outside again? You have a few good strategies up your sleeve for how to get birds out of your garage. First, open the garage door all the way. You can then:
- Wait for the bird to leave on its own. This may take a while.
- Shoo the bird out the garage door by waving your arms. If you’re scared, try a rake or broom instead.
- Lure the bird out with food. Sunflower seeds are often a good bet. You could even use cheap types of worms from the fishing store, which will wiggle and be more obviously visible to the bird.
- Look predatory bird calls up on YouTube and play them to get smaller birds to flee your garage.
- Do you have a cat or dog? Try calling your pet over to help scare the bird away.
- Catch smaller birds in a cloth, butterfly net, or blanket to let them outside — just be careful not to injure the bird. In some cases, you may even be able to catch the bird by hand.
It may take a while for your efforts to pay off, but the bird will be just as relieved as you are once it’s out of your garage. Should none of the above options help to get the bird out of your garage, calling animal control is another way forward.
How to Get Nesting Birds Out of Your Garage
Many birds, including wrens, robins, sparrows, and barn swallows, actively prefer to nest in or on buildings. It’s easy to see why; garages provide seclusion, warmth, safety, peace, and protection from the elements. Unlike other parts of your home, you don’t spend much time in your garage, which nesting birds consider a safe haven.
Households in which people regularly leave their garage doors open, and garages with cracks and holes, make for attractive targets. Those little cracks are good ways for birds to get stuck in garages, too.
You may have a nesting pair of birds on your hands if you:
- Find that it's springtime or fall, which is when birds create nests.
- Keep seeing the same birds flying in and out of your garage.
- Notice that the birds bring materials like mud, twigs, fabric, and plastic into your garage.
- The birds let out angry calls when you’re nearby or display aggressive territorial behavior.
Note that it’s illegal to remove active nests — defined as nests with eggs or brooding hens — made by native birds in the United States. However, you can still act when birds are just “scouting” your garage or are in the early stages of building a nest.
Here’s four ways to get and keep nesting birds out and away from your garage..
1) Keep Your Garage Door Closed to Make Your Garage Less Attractive
Do you habitually leave your garage door open during the day for easy access or ventilation? Stop now. Only open your garage door when you need to, and close it immediately. Adopting this new habit makes your garage less attractive to nesting birds.
2) Seal Off All Entry Points
Birds look for garages with easy entry points when they go in search for a suitable nesting location. Birds look for garages with easy entry points when searching for a suitable nesting location. You’ll need to do the same to close them off. Get a “bird’s eye” view of the situation and close off any entry points in your walls, ceiling, or around doors, no matter how small.
You can use bin liners and duct tape to seal off small holes temporarily and then explore options for having them fixed professionally later on.
3) Try to Scare the Birds Away
If you’re still wondering how to get a bird out of your garage, you can enlist the help of a decoy that looks like a predatory bird (an owl or hawk), play predatory bird calls on loop and allow your cat or dog to roam the area freely.
4) Make Your Garage Inhospitable
Most birds prefer to make nests high up, looking for stable flat surfaces. You can place boxes on shelves and add covers to garage door openers to make your garage less attractive, even if birds do get in.
How to Keep Birds Out of Your Garage Permanently
Once you get that bird out of your garage, you’ll want to take steps to prevent others from coming in. Fortunately, you can take a lot of proactive steps to keep birds away without harming them. You can also get more ideas that can work from our tips to keep birds off your porch.
1) Keep Your Garage Door Closed
Only open your garage door when you need to move your vehicle in or out, or alternatively install netting that keeps birds away. Keep in mind that nets can also occasionally trap birds, potentially injuring or killing them.
2) Install Decoys
Smaller birds, which feed on insects or plants, are naturally scared of predatory birds. Installing a stationary decoy or adding a decal is generally not an effective way to scare birds away, but a moving owl or hawk decoy can be extremely successful. Playing predatory bird sounds is another excellent tactic.
3) Let Your Cat Patrol Your Garage
If a bird won't leave your garage, let loose your hunting companion. Larger birds like crows and pigeons aren’t scared of cats, but smaller ones like sparrows or wrens will stay away if your feline friend is patrolling the area. Don’t have a cat? Many small birds are weary of dogs, too.
4) Try Reflective Scare Tape
Reflective scare tape was designed to keep hungry birds away from growing crops, but hanging it near your garage door is also an effective way to chase birds away from your garage. This tape reflects light as it moves in the wind and makes a noise that repels birds in the process.
Sometimes to get a bird stuck in a garage out, they have to do it of their own free will, and scaring them can be all the convincing you need.
5) Cover Any Windows in Your Garage
Clear windows are one of the main things that draw birds into your garage. Seeing the light, they believe they can fly straight through. Covering your windows with curtains or a dark privacy film removes this illusion, and it’s one of the most effective ways to keep birds away.
6) Invest in Bird Control Balloons
Specialized bird control balloons, suspended above the area you want to keep birds away from, frighten birds without harming them. They contain reflective material, predator eyes, and have tail strips that move in the wind.
As a final word on how to get a bird out of your garage, you don't want to use any pesticides (it's very cruel), though there are some natural bird repellants you can look into. I'd treat all of this as a last resort. You should avoid netting too, if you can, to avoid harming the birds who can become tangled up in them.
Why Do Birds Enter & Nest in the Garage?
Why do birds decide to enter your garage and start building a nest in the first place? Surely there are better options out there? It's not like their ancestors had access to homes hundreds of years ago. Well, the answer is that your garage presents a warm, dry place that's out of the wind and the ideal premises for raising their young.
Birds are like any other animal; they're looking for sites to raise a family, offering them the best sense of security. Your garage presents the perfect nesting area. If you have a garage offering birds ease of access, even with the door closed, they'll take the opportunity to start building their nest.
You may have an insect problem. Termites are attracted to light, and that can lead to an infestation inside the garage from having the lights on and door up during the evening. If birds find these insects inside your garage, they'll return again and again and realize it's a nice place to call home.
If you leave the door to your garage open during the daytime, the birds will see it and fly inside to explore it. Since you're not around the garage most of the time, they won't have you scaring them off, and they'll take the time to inspect it for a suitable nesting area.
In most cases, they find a gap in the rafters where they can bring in their materials and start the nest-building process. It takes a bird only a few days to get its nest ready, and it'll call its mate to inspect it before it sets up for the season.
Once they establish the nest, they'll stay there for the rest of the nesting season, leaving it to find food for themselves and their young when they hatch. You may be kind and let them stay, which I've done, but you'll have a major mess to deal with once they do.
Use the tips above for how to lure a bird out of your garage and dispose of the nest, especially if there aren't eggs in it yet. That means they have time to build another one elsewhere. Some people even will get rid of the eggs but I don't have it in my to do that.
Why Do You Need to Get Birds Out of Your Garage?
Birds are beautiful to watch, and there are plenty of species across North America in all states and regions of the country. Some are more destructive, and it's common for turtle doves and pigeons to find their way into your garage.
When this happens, the birds go from being entertaining to watch to a household pest you need to remove from your property. You need to remove the birds from your garage for several reasons.
First, you need to get rid of the birds for their safety. If you enter the garage unexpectedly, you'll startle the birds, and they might fly into the roof or walls, injuring themselves. As much as we don't want the birds on our property, we don't want to hurt them either.
The next reason to get rid of the birds in your garage is the mess they make of the space. It's easy to identify that you have a bird problem because of the mess they leave around the base of the nest. You'll find bird poop all over the floor.
You'll need to clean up the bird poop because it's a source of disease. Microorganisms like bacteria and viruses live in the poop. The feces dry and floats in the air, where drafts coming through the garage door may carry it inside your home, where you breathe it in. Avian influenza is not something you want to come down with.
Birds create damage to your garage when building their nest. They might rip up insulation or damage writing, leading to a health and safety threat. The last thing you need is an electrical fire in the garage.
That's How to Get a Bird Out of Your Garage
Birds that accidentally wander into your garage, only to get trapped, are frightened and desperate to leave. Opening your garage door all the way and patiently waiting for the bird to leave on its own is usually the most effective approach.
Watch from a distance so you don’t frighten the bird. If you’re in a hurry, it’s best to shoo the bird out with your arms or a tool like a rake or a broom.
Nesting birds are trickier. Remember that it’s illegal to remove active nests built by native (and often endangered) birds but removing those that are making your garage inaccessible during the nest-building stage is OK.
Keep your garage door closed, seal any holes and cracks, and add reflective scare tape or bird control balloons to keep nesting birds away. And that's how to get a bird out of your garage and keep them out.