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How to Keep Birds Off Outdoor Lights

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Do you have neighborhood birds that have taken over your outdoor lights? Maybe you’ve got a bird attempting to build a nest on them and you need to keep the birds off. Is there anything you can do to keep them off your lights?

To deter birds from landing on your outdoor lights, you can:

  • Hang wind chimes or shiny objects near the light that will scare the birds away
  • Install a bird deterrent, such as fake owls, sonic repellers, and bird spikes

Read on to learn more about keeping birds off your lights, helpful products, and what attracts them to your light fixtures in the first place.

birds on outdoor lights

Table of Contents

Tips for Keeping Birds off Outdoor Lights

Seeing birds in your yard is natural, but when they start invading your space, they can become a problem. A bird nest in your porch light can lead to an excess of feathers and droppings around your deck. Birds perching on decorative landscaping lights may cover them in unsightly droppings. 

If you’re having problems with birds on your outdoor lights, what can you do to get rid of them?

Don’t Feed the Birds

To start with, get rid of your bird feeder. If you’re feeding the neighborhood birds, chances are more and more will start showing up over time. The more birds you have coming to your yard, the more likely it is that some of them will decide to stay. 

Hang Wind Chimes Near the Light

Wind chimes can discourage birds in several ways. If you hang them just above the light, the bird won’t have any place to build its nest. The noise from the wind chimes will serve as a deterrent, and if the wind chimes are made of metal or other shiny materials, the birds won’t want to get near them.

Get a Cat

Keeping a cat around your porch will obviously discourage the birds from coming too close. If you don’t have a cat, you might consider getting one, or encouraging the friendly neighborhood cat to visit your porch more often by setting out a dish of cat food.

Be careful though; you don’t want to get rid of your bird problem only to replace it with a stray cat problem. Always have your cats fixed to avoid an explosion of feral kitties.

Trap the Birds

If you have a live bird trap and are willing to do a bit of extra work, you can trap the birds and relocate them somewhere far from your house.

This isn’t an ideal method, as there are several possible risks involved. The birds could become injured in the trap, and relocating them may take them away from any nests or baby birds they may have. 

Hang Shiny Objects Near the Light

One of the best and easiest ways to keep birds away is to hang shiny objects. Birds don’t like the reflective properties of foil, mirrors, or old CDs.

While you can buy reflective bird deterrents, it’s just as easy (and probably cheaper) to make your own out of any old reflective materials around your house. Hang them around your lights and the birds will stay away.

Bird Repellent Products

If your own efforts to keep the birds away just aren’t working, there are lots of different products available that may make your job easier and may even be more effective than any DIY methods.

Bird Netting

Bird netting like this one is often used to keep birds out of gardens and fruit trees, but it may also work for your outdoor lights. Wrapping a net around your porch light will create a rough surface on top that will discourage birds from making nests there. It will also keep them from crawling inside the light. 

Side Note

This stuff is super fine when hanging, so you’ll want a few hands to help when putting it up in your backyard. We used it for a friend’s chicken coop area and it was super hard to get untangled once it got tangled.

Sonic Repeller

A sonic/ultrasonic repeller is a device that emits high-pitch frequencies. They are usually silent to humans, but the frequencies are irritating to birds’ ears. The sound waves won’t hurt them but will send them flying away from your yard. This sonic repeller is a great choice.

Bird Spikes

Bird spikes can keep birds from landing on a surface. It may take some creativity to figure out how to use them with outdoor lights, but if you can effectively attach them to the tops of your lights, they will provide a pokey surface that birds will want to avoid landing on.

Fake Owl

You can use a fake owl like this one to scare away the birds, the same way a scarecrow might keep birds out of a field. Set it near your landscaping lights and move it around often. As long as you can fool the birds into thinking it’s a real owl, they will stay away. 

Gel Repellent

Gel repellents are a safe and effective way to keep birds off your lights. Simply squirt the clear, long-lasting gel on top of your lights, whether they be porch lights or decorative lights. Birds don’t like the sticky feel of the gel; if they land on it once, they won’t be back for a second try.

Why are Birds Attracted to Outdoor Lights?

With all the work you’re doing to try to keep birds off your outdoor lights, you may be wondering why the birds are so attracted to the lights in the first place. What is it about your yard lights that is so irresistible to the birds?

There may be lots of reasons birds are attracted to your lights, but some of the most common reasons are listed below.

Catching Bugs

Moths, flies, and other bugs are attracted to light. If you keep your porch light turned on at night, birds may see it as an ideal nesting spot because there will be plenty of bugs for them to eat. Birds may perch on decorative lights for the same reason.

Building Nests

Some styles of porch light may look like the perfect spot for a nest to some birds. Porch lights with flat tops, or large open lights that birds can get inside, are common targets.

Birds may want to use your porch light for a nest because of the constant supply of bugs and warmth from the light.

Keeping Warm

Whether or not they build their nest on the light, birds may be attracted to your yard lights because of the warmth they provide. This is especially true in the winter or during rainy weather.

Of course, not all lights produce heat. If your porch lights use LED bulbs, they won’t get hot and birds will be less inclined to use them for the purpose of warming up. 

For Perching

Decorative landscaping lights, like those used around pathways and gardens, make excellent perches. Birds can’t resist having a nice, low to the ground spot to rest, whether it be on a sunny afternoon or at night. 

Keep Birds Off of Your Outdoor Lights

Birds seem to be naturally attracted to outdoor lights for the bugs they draw, the warmth they produce, and the opportunities for nesting and perching that some lights present.

However, if you find your porch or your yard being overrun with birds and their unsightly droppings, you may want to find a way to keep the birds off your lights. 

If you follow the tips suggested in this article, you should be able to rid your outdoor lights of the troublesome birds and, hopefully, keep them away.

If your lights are old and you’re in need of new lights, check out our how to hang string lights without trees.

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Jena Slocum Co-Founder

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