How to Keep Robins From Building Nests on a House With Flat Spaces

Robins are aggressive when nesting.
Robins are aggressive when nesting. (Image: robin image by Cindy Haggerty from

According to the Washington Nature Mapping Program, the American robin tends to nest anywhere from 5 to 25 feet off the ground, often under the eaves of houses and on ledges above doors and windows. Both parents will aggressively attack anything that comes within 10 feet of the nest. This can be a problem for homeowners trying to get in and out of the house during the birds' breeding season. There are several ways to prevent robins from building by altering flat surfaces and limiting sources of food and protection to make nesting inconvenient or impossible.

Things You'll Need

  • Gloves
  • Bleach
  • Hot water
  • Metal or vinyl screening
  • Wire cutters or scissors
  • Finishing nails
  • Hammer
  • Bird repellent

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Remove existing robin nests only after the fledgelings have flown. Clean the area where the nest sat with a solution of one part bleach to five parts hot water to kill insect eggs, lice, fleas and larvae.

Attach vinyl or metal screening to the tops of doors and windows. Cut the screen material in a 4-inch width, the length of the surface to be shielded. Tack one side to the edge of the sill, and the other to the wall with finishing nails and a hammer. This will create a 45-degree surface that the bird can't nest on.

Apply a sticky repellent to the surfaces where robins nest. These repellents will trap the bird's feet when they land to begin nest-building. It won't harm the robin and it will be able to get free, but it will quickly become discouraged and nest somewhere else. Reapply the repellent every two weeks until breeding season is well underway.

Trim back tall bushes and trees close to your house to remove sheltered areas that make robins feel secure. Take down bird feeders in the spring, summer and fall to eliminate easy food sources. Eventually, they will move to a tree farther out in your landscape.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not disturb an existing robin's nest unless it is empty for the season. Most types of bird nests are protected by state and federal law so you'll have to wait to remove it. Robins will not return to the same nest the following year because the lice load in them is often quite high.
  • Never keep an old robin's nest in the house. Even if they seem decorative and quaint, they contain all kinds of vermin.


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