Dos and Don’ts of Humanely Removing Bird Nests

Birds, with their captivating songs and vibrant plumage, often find their way into our lives, even nesting on our properties. While these nests can bring joy, there are times when removing them becomes necessary due to safety concerns or property maintenance. However, the key lies in ensuring this removal is done humanely, with a deep respect for the birds that call these nests home. In this post, we’ll walk you through the steps of removing a bird nest from your property while prioritizing the well-being of our feathered friends.

Step 1: Check the Law 

Checking the law before moving a bird nest is essential because many bird species are protected by law. In Canada, the Migratory Birds Regulations state that the nests of all species of migratory birds are protected when they are occupied. This means that the nest cannot be touched when a bird or eggs are currently in the nest. These laws safeguard birds during their nesting and breeding periods, prohibiting actions that could harm or disrupt their populations. Moving a nest without proper authorization could lead to legal consequences, as well as ecological imbalances and potential harm to fragile bird populations. Unless you’re an expert, it will be difficult to identify which birds are protected, so it’s always recommended that you leave any bird nest removal to the professionals such as Terminix Canada.

The list of protected migratory birds in Canada includes but is not limited to: 

  • American Robin 
  • Band-tailed Pigeon
  • Song Sparrow
  • Barn Swallow
  • Canada Warbler
  • And many more 

Search the full list of migratory birds protected in Canada here. 

Pigeon nest in home

Step 2: Prevent the Nest 

The best way to remove bird nests is to interrupt the construction of the nest. Pay attention to birds on your property, if you notice a bird is frequenting one location inspect the area and remove any sticks and debris that have been collected. Prevention is the optimal solution for both the birds and human activities however it is often not until the nest has been established that it is noticed. 

Step 2: Check the Nest 

If the nest has already been constructed you will want to take a closer look. For your own safety, make sure to do this when the birds are away from the nest. If the nest is in a hard-to-reach location don’t take the unnecessary risk of climbing to inspect it. Pest control professionals can inspect the nest for you. 

If the nest contains eggs or baby birds, it’s best to refrain from relocating or removing it until after the nesting season. If the nest contains eggs but there is no adult bird present it doesn’t necessarily indicate abandonment, the adult may be momentarily away. 

Step 3: Timing

It is best to ensure the nest is inactive before removing it. Most bird species produce one clutch of eggs annually however, some species can produce multiple clutches in a year. In Canada, most birds nest and mate between mid-March and late August, but this differs significantly between species. Finding the best time to move or remove a bird nest can be a challenge because of the variation between species. A pest control professional will be able to advise you on the best timing for you specific situation. 

Bird nest on roof

Bird Removal FAQs

What if the nest is in danger? 

As stated above, moving or removing an occupied nest of a migratory bird is illegal. The exception to this rule is if the nest is in immediate danger. For example, if the nest is on an unstable branch, near dangerous equipment or accessible to nearby predators. In these cases, the nest can be relocated to a safe place nearby. However, since this decision walks a legal fine line, it’s best to consult with pest control professionals to ensure it is done correctly.

Will birds come back if their nest is destroyed?

Some birds will rebuild their nest nearby, while others will abandon the nest completely. Their response depends on the species of bird and if they are currently nesting. 

How long does bird nesting last?

Most small songbirds take one or two weeks to hatch from their eggs and another week or two to leave the nest. Larger birds such as woodpeckers or owls will take up to 2 months to leave the nest. 


Are you in need of bird nest removal services? Terminix Canada has you covered! We offer expert pest & wildlife control services for both residential and commercial properties with locations across Canada including BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Call us today for safe and humane bird exclusion!