Is there a bird trapped in your garage?
Then take a look at the six simple methods for getting a bird out of a garage that we outline in this article:
- Open the garage door, exit doors, and windows
- Turn off lights, close the exit doors and windows, but leave the main garage door open
- Turn off the lights, and string a trail of lights to an open door
- Put food and water just outside your garage
- Install a fake owl or a real cat in your garage
- Darken your garage and catch the bird
Extricating a bird from your garage may take some time and patience, but in this article, we will give you the instructions you need.
Open the Garage Door, Exit Doors, and Windows
Even when a bird is flying in circles around your car, bikes, and lawn care equipment, it is likely to be eager to leave.
After all, birds don’t find seeds, worms, insects, and flowers inside your garage. Birds want to be outside.
Sometimes, the bird is just confused about where to go. So, make its exit easy.
Open every door and every window in your garage. Give the bird a lot of ways to get outside.
Leave the garage for an hour or two, so the bird will not be frightened by your presence.
An easy way out through a safe passage may be all a bird needs to find its way out of your garage.
Larger birds may need to walk out instead of flying out, so make sure there is a clear path to the door so they can make their exit.
Turn Off the Lights
Most birds that find their way into a garage are diurnal. That is, they are more active during the day, and find a place to roost at night.
If you turn off the lights, the bird may think that nightfall has come early, and look for a place to roost.
This won’t get the bird out of your garage. But when you open the garage door (if there is still daylight) and the bird sees light, it will think it is time to fly away and look for food.
Occasionally, nocturnal birds like hawks and owls get trapped in garages.
With them, simply wait until the sun goes down and open the doors, so they can fly away and look for food.
Create a Trail of Lights
When the first two methods don’t work, it is usually because the bird has found food and shelter in your garage.
Make sure an open bag of pet food or birdseed isn’t creating an all-you-can-eat buffet. Empty or relocate any food and water bowls you leave for outdoor pets.
Then show the bird the way to the door.
Put down a trail of shiny objects or electric lights (like Christmas trees or patio lights) that shows the way to an exit. This will invite the bird to follow the lights to find its way outside.
Place Food and Water Just Outside Your Garage
Birds sometimes enter garages looking for food and water. So, give them food and water! Just leave it outdoors, where you want them to go, not indoors, in your garage.
Leave just one door or the garage door open. Close all other exits.
Place some birdseed (or, depending on the bird, mealworms, or suet) in a shallow dish on the ground several steps outside the open garage door.
Then leave, so the bird feels safe going to the food. Once outdoors, the bird will probably stay outdoors.
But putting out a second dish of food and the second bowl of water even farther away from the garage door helps.
Install a Fake Owl or Let a Live Cat In Your Garage
Animatronic owls are a little pricey, but most birds are terrified when a robot owl comes to life in a dark garage. Program the fake owl to activate after you have left the garage.
The glowing red eyes, the piercing screech, and the lunging motions of the animatronic beast force birds to look for cover.
Of course, you need to be sure you have left a door or a window open for the troublesome bird to fly through before you set out the animatronic owl.
Otherwise, you just have a very upset bird trapped in your garage.
An alternative to a fake owl is a real cat. The downside of letting a real cat take care of bird chasing duties is that your cat probably will catch and kill the bird if there is an opportunity.
The bird dies, and the cat makes a mess eating it. But simply letting a cat or a dog into your garage while the bird is present, if doors and windows are open, encourages it to flee.
If All Else Fails, Catch the Bird
If you have tried everything else we have suggested and the bird is still in your garage, then you may have to catch the bird so you can later let it go free
Bird nets are an effective method if you have the right size net and you have good reflexes. But the easiest method involves trapping the bird in a sheet.
Turn off any lights in your garage. Cover the windows and close any doors to make your garage as dark as possible.
Wait until nightfall. The bird should find a place to take cover and sleep through the night.
After an hour or two, enter the garage and locate the bird with a penlight. Wrap the bird in a sheet or a large towel, take it outside, close the garage door behind you, and let it go free.
This method works surprisingly often, since birds trapped inside your garage are weakened without food and water. It is a completely humane way to treat the bird.
And if none of these methods works for you, you can always call your local animal control center.
To get rid of pigeons, a pest control company can help. Or consider these tips for controlling pigeon problems.
A Special Case: Getting Pigeons Out of Your Garage
Many kinds of birds in the garage are annoying, but pigeons in your garage can be unhealthy and destructive.
Their droppings are so acidic that they can ruin the paint on your car.
They carry bacteria and viruses that can make people and pets sick just by being close enough to breathe tiny particles from their feces and feathers.
Pigeons aren’t called “homing pigeons” for nothing.
Although you can use the same methods to get rid of pigeons that you use with other birds, once pigeons have discovered your garage, they will keep coming back to try to move in,
Because pigeons live almost exclusively around people, they aren’t considered wildlife.
And because pigeons aren’t considered wildlife, you can use a greater number of methods to control them. Everything we suggest here, however, will be ethical and kind to these annoying birds.
Cover Trash Cans
Pigeons like the smell of decaying food.
Don’t let them get into garbage cans, and they are less likely to look for a nesting or roosting place in your garage
Or Sprinkle a Dish Of Pet Food With Zinc Sulfate And Leave It Out For the Pigeons
Zinc sulfate isn’t poisonous to pigeons, but it interferes with their sense of smell.
A pigeon that eats just a tiny amount of zinc sulfate with dog food or kitty kibble won’t be able to smell its way back to your garage for several days.
Be sure to place the bowl where your pets won’t find it.
Seal Cracks and Crawl Spaces
Pigeons can be very ingenious about finding ways to get into your garage.
Seal cracks in the walls of your garage, and make sure pigeons can’t use a crawl space to get into your garage, attic, or any other part of your house.
Install a Motion-activated Water Sprayer In Front Of Your Garage
Just like pets and people, pigeons don’t like to get squirted with water, especially in cold weather.
A motion-activated water spray gun near your garage will keep pigeons and other birds away so they don’t ever fly in.
Mount the motion detector high enough that it misses pets and hits birds, and make sure everyone in your family knows it is there.
Put Bird Spikes on Unused Shelves
Pigeons can’t land on shelves covered with bird spikes.
They don’t harm the bird. They just prevent them from spending the night.
Be Especially Careful to Remove Pigeon Nests
No matter how nasty a pigeon nest gets, another mating pair will be glad to use it rather than building their own.
Put on gloves and remove any old pigeon nest you find, placing it in a plastic bag and putting it in the trash.
Scientists have documented that pigeons are especially skittish around cats.
Allowing your cat into the garage will help keep pigeons away, but you will need to ensure that your cat does not get trapped in a wheel well or under the hood of your car.
How Long Will a Trapped Bird Live?
A bird that is trapped in your garage (or in a chimney, in your fireplace, or inside a wall) can become quickly distressed without access to water and food.
Most birds become dehydrated and incapable of flying away, in less than 24 hours.
Some birds become dehydrated in just one hour.
Smaller, extremely active birds like hummingbirds can starve in less than six hours, and even the largest birds may become weak in 24 to 48 hours without food.
Very few birds survive longer than 3 days without food and water. They die in place, and their bodies begin to decay.
The odor of a dead bird can become overwhelming. You need to get birds out of your garage and other tight spaces quickly.
If you can’t do this on your own, seek the help of a wildlife rehabilitation center or a pest control specialist.
How to Keep Birds from Getting Into Your Garage
It is a lot easier to prevent birds from getting into your garage than to remove them once they have found their way inside.
Here are a few things you can do to keep birds from trying to build their nests or starting a roost in your garage.
Keep the Garage Door, Any Exit Doors, and Windows Closed
If you have repeated problems with birds getting into your garage, make sure you lower the garage door as soon as you get your vehicle parked inside.
Keep any other doors that open to the outdoors closed when you are not using them.
Cover windows with bird netting if you need to keep them open for ventilation and temperature control.
Don’t Store Birdseed, Pet Food, or any Other Food in Your Garage
Hungry birds venture into open garages in search of food.
If they find an open sack of dog or cat food, or stumble onto your cache of birdseed for their feeder, they will want to eat until they are full.
Later, they will come back for more.
Don’t leave food in open containers in your garage.
Make a Habit of Chasing Birds Away as soon as You see them in Your Garage
The more a bird comes to associate your garage with food and shelter, the harder it will be to get them to leave.
Once they build a nest, state and federal wildlife laws may even require you to leave it in your garage until the occupants have finished raising their young.
The sooner you get birds out of your garage, the fewer problems you will have.
Remove Empty Bird Nests from Your Garage
If you didn’t notice you had birds in your garage before they built a nest, the best thing you can do to encourage them to leave is to remove them.
However, if there are eggs or hatchlings in the nest, you don’t want (and in many places it is illegal) to kill them.
Wait until the young birds have left the nest before you remove or destroy it, so the parents can’t use it again.
It’s OK to remove a nest that has no eggs or baby birds inside it.
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