How to Keep Birds Off Your Deck Railing

How to Keep Birds Off Your Deck Railing

Apr 23, 2024

Finding birds perched on your deck railing can be quite beautiful, that is until you notice they’ve left droppings all over your once-clean deck. Between the mess and the constant noise, birds on your deck railing can quickly become a nuisance. Addressing this issue requires a balance of deterrence and care, ensuring that your feathered visitors find safer and more suitable places to perch. As deck experts, we have years of experience dealing with birds on deck railings, and we wrote this guide to pass along our knowledge.

The Short Answer: Deterring Birds From Deck Railings

To quickly deter birds from your deck railing, consider installing physical barriers such as bird spikes or netting that make landing uncomfortable. Additionally, reflective tape or objects moving in the wind can serve as effective visual deterrents. Regularly removing food sources and potential nesting materials from your deck will make it a less appealing perch as well.

Why Birds Are Attracted to Deck Railings

Birds are attracted to deck railings for many reasons, primarily because these structures offer an excellent vantage point for spotting potential food sources and predators. Deck railings also provide birds with a place to rest, especially in urban or suburban areas with limited natural perches. The availability of food scraps from outdoor dining, water sources like birdbaths or open containers, and the shelter provided by deck furniture or plants can make your deck railing an irresistible spot for birds. Understanding these attractions is the first step toward effectively deterring birds, as it allows you to address the issue's root causes.

Common Problems Caused by Birds on Deck Railings

While the sight of birds can add a touch of nature to your home, their presence on deck railings often has several unwelcome consequences. The accumulation of bird droppings can pose health risks and cause damage to deck surfaces over time. The acidity in bird waste can erode paint, stain wood, and even corrode metal railings, increasing maintenance and repair costs. Additionally, birds nesting near your deck can lead to persistent noise, especially during early mornings, and attract other unwanted pests looking to feed on the birds or their droppings.

Practical Strategies to Deter Birds

Implementing effective strategies to keep birds off your deck railing can make your outdoor space more enjoyable and maintain cleanliness. Here are several humane and effective methods:

  1. Physical Deterrents: Installing physical barriers is a straightforward way to prevent birds from landing on your deck railings. Bird spikes, while they sound harsh, are a humane option that simply makes it uncomfortable for birds to perch without causing them harm.
  2. Visual and Auditory Deterrents: Birds are susceptible to their surroundings, and utilizing this sensitivity can work in your favor. Reflective surfaces, such as mirrors, reflective tape, or even old CDs, can be hung near railings to discourage birds. Wind chimes and other noise-making items can also serve as auditory deterrents, making your deck less appealing to birds.
  3. Natural Repellents: Some natural remedies can help keep birds away without physical barriers. Certain essential oils, like lavender, peppermint, and lemongrass, are known to repel birds when diluted with water and sprayed around the deck. Planting herbs and flowers that produce strong scents, such as garlic, chives, and marigolds, can also deter birds naturally.
  4. Maintaining a Clean Environment: The most effective long-term solution is to remove the attractions that bring birds to your deck in the first place. Ensure food scraps and pet food are never left out and water sources are covered or removed. Regularly cleaning your deck and removing any potential nesting materials will make it less inviting to birds as well.

DIY Solutions and Tips

Beyond the commercially available products, several do-it-yourself solutions can be equally effective in deterring birds:

  • Homemade Sprays: Mix water with a few drops of essential oils and spray it around your deck, focusing on areas where birds tend to gather. This natural repellent will need to be reapplied after rain or heavy dew.
  • Decoy Predators: Placing decoys of birds of prey, such as hawks or owls, around your deck can scare off smaller birds. Move these decoys around periodically to prevent birds from getting used to them for the best effect.
  • Altering Landing Surfaces: Making the railings less comfortable for birds can be as simple as attaching a sloped cover to them, which makes landing difficult. Certain types of railing, such as cable railing, are generally less comfortable for birds.

Final Thoughts on Keeping Birds Off Your Deck Railings

Keeping birds off your deck railing lets you preserve your outdoor space's cleanliness and aesthetic appeal while enjoying wildlife from a distance. Remember, what works may vary based on your specific situation and the types of birds you're dealing with, so don't hesitate to try a combination of methods to discover what's most effective for your deck. With a bit of patience and creativity, you can enjoy a bird-free railing and a welcoming outdoor space.