You’ve just pulled your RV out of storage to find that a bird decided to build a nest in it over the winter. How did this happen? What do you do about it? This is an all-too-common problem for RVers, but don’t fret, there’s hope! Preventing and resolving bird nests in RVs is possible!
Where They Build
Birds like to build their nests where they think they will be safe and protected. An RV in storage that has no human interference can look pretty enticing to them. Common places for nests include near the hitch, under the A/C cover, under the battery cover, under the slide toppers, and (yikes!) inside the RV itself! They will build anywhere they can squeeze into! While the nest itself may not cause much damage, the birds can make a huge mess. The best way to get rid of them is to prevent them from building here in the first place.
Resolving Bird Nests
Just like any wild animal, birds have the potential of carrying disease. Use caution when approaching the area in which you have found the nest especially if you think there may be eggs or baby birds in there. Momma birds can get pretty defensive and you don’t want to get dive-bombed by a protective momma. If the nest is completely empty, then you can take action and get rid of it.
If the nest is in an area where it can be blown out the other side, a leaf blower is a great way to get rid of it. Not only does it allow you to keep a little bit of distance and not have to touch it directly, but the noise from the blower may work to scare the birds out of the area.
If the nest contains eggs or babies, you may be in for another experience. Before you do anything, you have to figure out if the bird is native to the U.S. If it is, it’s actually illegal to move or destroy the nest when it has eggs or babies in it. If you find it’s a native bird, call animal control for help and advice.
We’ve all heard that if you touch a nest, the mother will smell your scent and abandon it, leaving her eggs or babies to fend for themselves. Thankfully this is a myth. Not only do birds actually have a poor sense of smell, but they’re very devoted to their babies (hence the dive bombing if they see you coming near). A caution about moving a nest with eggs in it is that if the parents aren’t watching you do it, they may not be able to find it once it's moved. If you have to move it, you'll want to put it somewhere very near its original spot. If you can wait until the eggs hatch and the babies are active to move it, that's best. This is because the babies will squawk and squeak for food and their parents will hear them. Just use caution when moving the nest and be careful that the babies do not fall out. Finally, do this as quickly as possible so you don't draw attention from predators or cause undue stress on the parents.
Preventing Birds From Nesting
As we stated before, the best way to deal with birds is to keep them from nesting in the first place. Whether you’re just parking for the first time or you’ve cleared out the nest and want to make sure they don't come back, try some of these tricks and see what works for you!
Make It Impossible To Get In
This is probably the best way to do it but it may take some trial an error, especially if they’re getting inside your RV. Try to find every area they could be getting in and close it up! If they’re under your slide covers, find something to stuff in the ends or take them off completely when in storage. A full RV cover is one way to protect pretty much everything in one fell swoop.
A very humane way to keep them from getting in is to annoy them. If getting in where they want to be is more trouble than it’s worth, they’ll go elsewhere. One way to do this is by putting double-sided sticky tape where they tend to go. It’s not strong enough that they'll get stuck on it, but it’s annoying enough that it'll deter them from coming back.
It’s said that birds hate reflective things, so you can try hanging a mirror or CD around their favorite area. The only problem with this is that males tend to be drawn to this because they think it's another male and they try to fight the image in the mirror to defend its territory.
You can also try a repellant spray. It smells and tastes horrible, so they won’t want to be near it. Just make sure you get one that’s non-toxic to protect the birds, yourself, and other wildlife that may come into contact with it.
Scare Them Away
If the place in which they’re trying to build their nest doesn’t seem safe, they’ll ditch it and go find another place. Put decoys up that will make them feel threatened, like owl statues or rubber snakes. Try to think of what a natural bird predator in your area would be and get a fake one to put up.
Sonic noisemakers may be another good way to scare them away. These noisemakers produce a sound that humans cannot hear, but the birds hate! The noises sound very much like predators to them and so they tend to avoid the area.
If you keep clearing out a nest and the persistent little guys keep coming back, it may be time for a trap. Set up a live trap in which they will get stuck when they try to build or land in a nest. Once caught, you can drive them far away from the RV and let them go. The chances of them finding their way back to your RV are pretty slim.
Getting rid of and preventing bird nests helps your RV stay clean and retain its value. Not only can birds break things, but their poop can stain and damage an RV's exterior. With these tips, you can say bye bye birdies!