J.B. Pritzker, Governor |

Solve a Wildlife Problem

Bird Nest Near My Home or Pool


Songbird Nests

Several species of bird readily nest near homes—Eastern Phoebe, American Robin, Northern CardinalChimney Swift, House Sparrow, House Finch, and Barn Swallow, to name a few of the most common. Except for the House Sparrow, these birds (including their nests, eggs and young) are all protected species. This means their nests can not be removed until after the young have fledged (left the nest).

Photo: Adele Hodde, Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Young Eastern Phoebe chicks in a nest built over an outdoor light.

Chimney Swifts will nest inside chimneys. The other species will nest over doorways, on or in exterior lighting fixtures, on porch or deck railings, in hanging plants, in shrubs near the home, or in wreaths hanging on doors. If possible, use another exit until the young have fledged (four to five weeks from when the first egg is laid till the young leaving the nest). Once the young are gone, they do not return to the nest, so you may take the nest down and dispose of it. If the adults successfully raise a brood, they are likely to return the next year to nest close by.

Robins and cardinals can be quite aggressive when protecting their nests, especially robins. They will make loud alarm calls, fly at intruders, and may even try to peck at your head or arms. If you move away from the nest, they will stop their attack.

Click to expand.

Duck or Goose Nests

It is fairly common for Mallard ducks or Canada Geese to nest near homes, in landscaping, or next to pools. If possible, give the nest plenty of space until the young have hatched and left the nest (about 20 to 30 days from when the first egg is laid until the young leave the nest). Both species are protected so it is illegal to disturb or remove their nests, eggs, or young.

Photo: Adele Hodde, IDNR
Canada geese are not shy about building nests in urban environments. This female built her nest next to a building foundation.
Canada geese are not shy about building nests in urban environments. This female built her nest next to a building foundation.

Canada geese will aggressively defend their nests. They will honk, flap their wings, and fly at intruders to drive them away. Geese are large enough to inflict injury, so try to keep your distance from the nest by keeping people and pets away from the area. Use another exit, if possible, if the nest is next to an exterior door.

Click to expand.

Ducks or Geese in Pools

Ducks or geese sometimes decide to hang out in swimming pools. Chase them away by waving your arms and making loud noises.

Click to expand.

IDNR Monitoring Suspected Outbreaks of Avian Influenza During Fall Waterfowl Migration More...
This is default text for notification bar