Why cleaning gutters badly could get you a prison sentence

How to clean your gutters the correct way

You’ve probably thought cleaning your gutters out is easier said than done. But it looks like you’ve got to be more cautious than first anticipated, especially when it comes to removing birds’ nests.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to remove them properly and how to stop birds from nesting in the eaves again.

A lot of you probably don’t know how much trouble removing an active bird’s nest can get you in and how you can stop this problem from happening again.

What does the law say about removing birds’ nests?

In no circumstances can you remove an occupied bird’s nest. Under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981, it is an offence to damage or destroy an active nest or stop parent birds access to their nests.

*Penalty: Unlimited fine, up to six months imprisonment or both.*

When do I remove it?

There are two points in time where it’s acceptable to remove a nest, either while it’s being built and there are no birds currently occupied in it or when the nest has been used and is no longer active.

How do I remove it?

Nests are built up of fleas, ticks and bacteria, so it is recommended that removal is carried out with long sleeve gloves and respiratory protection. Dispose of the nest in a bin bag and make sure it’s sealed securely. Or if you don’t feel confident enough to remove the nest, then contact a bird pest control company.

If you don’t want to experience any of this hassle in the first place, then check-out the best 6 methods to stopping birds from nesting in guttering.

Top 6: How to stop birds nesting in guttering and soffits

Gutter guards:

Gutter guarding

Gutter guards come in all sorts of shapes and sizes but essentially they all do the same job. They stop any debris from piling up and stop any birds from physically building a nest.

  • Metal or plastic mesh can be used to protect your guttering and soffits. However, understand that while metal is more durable, it will begin to rust over time. In addition, despite plastic being cheaper it is less sturdy than metal.


Decoy owl

There are plenty of decoys to choose from to keep birds away. The popular ones include:

  • Plastic bird of prey, e.g owls and falcons can scare away starlings and other birds.
  • Place something reflective near your guttering, old CD’s, decals, stickers or reflective tape.

Plastic spikes:

Gutter spikes

Plastic spikes are said to be one of the most effective methods to stopping birds from nesting in guttering. What makes them so popular is that they are very versatile and can be stuck on almost any surface.

Remove garden food sources:

Bird feeder

Birds in particular starlings could be attracted to your gutters because you have fruit trees or large bird feeders nearby.

Cover any shrubs or fruit trees with netting and switch to smaller tube feeders instead of large ones, as starlings find it more difficult to reach the feed.

Sound waves:

Speaker symbol

Special speakers can be fitted above your gutters which emit high-frequency sound waves to disturb birds and keep them away.

Bird gel/repellent:

Bird repellent container

Bird gel is a non-poisonous and waterproof repellent which makes surfaces sticky and puts birds off from landing on it. This is a more of a short-term method, with the gel only lasting a few months.

What happens if it goes untreated?


Twigs, mud and grass can stop water running freely in your gutters and stop them from working properly.

Pollutes water:

Blockages can cause water to sit stagnant; this in turns creates bacteria which is dangerous if it comes into contact with your pets through the ground water supply.

Damage to guttering: 

Bird droppings contain uric acid which can erode guttering and damage soffits. Furthermore, bird droppings can contain seeds which can grow and form plants in your guttering, causing even more problems.

Which birds nest in gutters and when?

The 3 most common types of birds to nest in gutters and soffits are:

1. House Sparrow

When do they nest? April-August

How long does it take for them to leave the nest? 2 weeks

2. Starling

When do they nest? Mid-April

How long does it take for them to leave the nest? 3 weeks

3. Pigeon 

When do they nest? All year round

How long does it take for them to leave the nest? 3 weeks 

South Coast Windows
South Coast Windows, based in East Sussex, supply and fit UPVC Windows, Doors and Conservatories to the South Coast region of the UK.
South Coast Windows

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