"Snakes be Gone"

by Angela

My five baby birds are dead! My front porch light has become a favorite nesting place for a determined Mom and Dad bird (breed unknown).


I tried to discourage them from nesting again by taking down their last nest, as I almost lost their last babies to a snake.

Unfortunately, I exit the garage mostly and they rebuilt a new nest with 5 more eggs before I notice them flying around the front porch again.

I do not like killing anything, even down to a spider in my house. But I knew the snakes would be back. I put moth balls and Snake be Gone all around the porch area hoping to keep the snakes away.

However, to my horror, I sit here tonight truly upset after finding a large black snake on my porch and no babies.

In my anger I started to kill the snake, but it got away and I let it go. I found this site and wanted to tell my story hoping others will not make this mistake.

I just watched them yesterday, with their cute little heads reaching out as Mommy and Daddy bird took care of them. I was looking forward to showing them to my 5 year old nephew on his next visit.

Momma bird had reach the point, I guess from the first nesting, that when I come around to water the flowers, she would just watch me.

I would talk to her and she would just turn her head and listen and Daddy bird would hang out in the tree next to the house.

Sometimes at night I would go out on the porch and just sit there with Momma bird. I will miss the babies, it seems so unfair. Even if it is natures way.

My question to anyone that can help is this.

What truly will keep the snakes away? I am afraid they may rebuild and I will have the same problem again. If so, I want to do what I can to protect them without interfering.

Is there some kind of razer/wire I could put on the porch that would keep the snake from coming across the porch? I would appreciate any help, Thanks!

Administrator says:
Try bird netting under the nest. Use a big wad of it loosely gathered together where the snake crawls up. Snakes will get trapped in the netting and you can cut them out and take the snake away to set it free. Usually netting is used around poles that Bluebird or Purple Martin houses are attached to. You'll have to get creative in your case.

Comments for "Snakes be Gone"

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Aug 16, 2016
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don't use glue traps
by: Laura j.

I do humane wildlife removal. Glue traps catch birds, lizards and desirable wildlife. I was called to remove a great horned owl from a glue strip. The glue trap had caught a mouse, which in turn attracted the owl. The owl was so entangled in the glue that we had to euthanize him. Awful!!

Use netting under your bird houses for snake deterrent. Maybe try motion detectors at night, when many snakes are active? You can attach thorny limbs around your nest box. Chicken wire might also work if you have it's rough edges around the box. Maybe cinnamon/clove oil deterrents? Try anything to disrupt the smell of the birds.
Altho I believe snakes hunt with heat detection? If so, not sure what to try…

Jul 08, 2016
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netting did not work
by: Peggy (from florida)

We have tried everything from netting to baffles to tack strips etc...and the snakes went up through and over every thing and still got into our blue bird nest and ate the babies.
I am really stumped at this point
Peggy (From Florida )

Jun 30, 2016
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Mother Nature
by: TJ

I hate it too. We have lost babies to snakes. You have to remember though It is nature. This is what happens. I have rat snakes and move them when they get near the porch and the babies but they smell them out and come back again.

Jun 21, 2016
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Snakes. I hate them.
by: Anonymous

I feel all your pain. We have had swallows come back to the same nest under our porch for 10 years. Never had any problems until this year. We killed one snake after it had eaten the eggs and then we had 5 little birds from the second nesting.

We love to watch them. They were almost ready to leave and we came out one morning saw one baby in the ground under the nest. All that was left was one baby. As I was reading in my bedroom which is right outside the nest I heard the mama bird going crazy. Luckily I cracked the door just to see the tail of a snake.

I screamed for my husband and he went out the other door to find a rat snake half way up the shutter. He would have gotten that baby if i hadn't heard the mother.

I've read all your suggestions and I'm wondering about putting sticky mouse traps half way up. Those things are really sticky and mice can't get off them.

Jun 19, 2016
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Netting
by: Gene

Make sure the netting is a large cone shape with several layers. If it's bunched together the snakes can get around the netting. The snakes must have to go through the netting and not climb on the outside. Layer it like a women's skirt.

Jun 19, 2016
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snakes in my blue bird nest
by: Anonymous

We have tried netting and 2 times the snakes have gotten thru to eat the baby birds.
Now we are going to try tack strips.
Peggy (from Florida)

Jun 14, 2016
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One baby died snake on nest saved 3
by: Sherrill

Been watching a mama bird and her 4 babies nesting on porch up high on the corner by pole. Its her 2nd batch. Go out tonight to sit on porch and a black snake is on top of the nest.

So I was like not on my watch I hit him with a golf club grabbed a folded tent out of garage to break the fall of any babies and I knocked him out and the baby he was about to get.

The baby landed safely on puffy tent and I whacked at the snake and he took off. My son got a ladder n 2 babies were alive I had one in the house so it only got one.

But if the mother doesn't return I'm going to take them to a vet or animal welfare place. Hoping they make it. And if the snakes comes back my machete is by the door. It was just awful.

May 15, 2016
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Scatmat
by: Anonymous

Anyone ever tried a "Scatmat" for keeping snakes away. These are meant to keep family pets away from unwanted places by giving a static like shock, but I wonder with this wrapped around the birdbox pole, it might deter a snake from climbing up? The only thing though, it's not really meant for outdoors. Perhaps only use it when the weather permits. Any thoughts?

May 02, 2016
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Baby Wrens
by: Anonymous

I have (had) four baby Wrens in a nest right outside my screen porch. For days I watched as mama and papa fed these cuties. This morning however, I went out to put my rubbish to the curb and a snake was around the nest and the babies

GONE!!! Snake was resting after eating them. I was sick and cried for awhile. I thought the the nest was safe under the carport. I will not put another flower pot etc., out again....

Pushed the snake out as I can't kill anything. The snake was called a rat snake!!!!

Mar 11, 2016
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Snake proff
by: Anonymous

Last year I vaselined post & wrapped duct tape sticky side out!!

Aug 17, 2015
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folllow up
by: christy

Well I decided to take my jack Russell outside to help me look (she's very trained, I worked in a dog training facility when I got her) she found one lost baby right off the bat under a piece of cardboard but we never found the other baby.

I put the three in the box and opened the flap so they wouldn't fly out again but the mother came back at 6 am and chipped till they all came out and ushered them to the back yard, I think they are trying to fly, but they aren't very good yet lol I'll still keep looking for my lost baby.

I really don't think the snake got her it was very skinny all the way down and if he got one there should be a lump somewhere...right?

Aug 17, 2015
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HELP
by: christy

I just found SNAKE in my nest( well the birds )nest , I have a Carolina wren with four babies and she made her nest in a box my husband put on top of his tool box on the carport.I watch these babies every time we walk outside. I was able to rescue the babies from the snake BUT they all fluttered out of the box in the mayhem( me chasing the snake with a hoe) now I cant find two of them !!!

It's midnight here and very dark how can I find our missing 2 babies? They were hatched on the 4th so they are 14 days old. ugh I'm so worried about them. I put the 2 back in the nest and they call when I make kissing noises but I cant hear the lost 2. any ideas?

Jul 26, 2015
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Using Grease
by: Gene

Snakes can get by grease. We do not recommend using grease as it takes a LOT and it must be maintained all season.

Bird netting and a predator guard on the post is what we recommend.

Jul 25, 2015
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bluebird house
by: Anonymous

Mount your bluebird house about 6 - 7 feet off the ground on a metal pole such as conduit. No nearby limbs or bushes. Grease the metal pole liberally with "axle" grease. You can find it at any automotive parts store. Repeat annually. Snakes can't climb the greased pole. Enjoy the next & future bluebird babies.

Jul 23, 2015
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Snake
by: Anonymous

I just lost baby blue birds to a large snake. Truly devestating and heart breaking. I am going to try netting or a baffle. Right now, I feel like taking the bird house down I am so upset! My grandkids witnessed the snakes aftermath.

Jul 01, 2015
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Nixalite
by: Anonymous

Thank you! will try, also need something to keep squirrels off my hummingbird feeder....they sit and drink it as if it was liquid crack! I'm against guns but losing my patience.

Jun 30, 2015
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Another option
by: Anonymous

Hello,

Nixalite of America, Inc., www.nixalite.com makes what it calls "Climbing Animal Barrier" p. 6 of free catalogue. They say it will keep snakes, squirrels, racoms, possum and feral cat off posts, gutters, poles.

Go to www.nixalite.com/climbinganimalbarrier.aspx

Or you can call them and describe situation of the nest and they will let you know if it will work. There are so many approaches for a snake to reach the robin's nest it has raided twice under eves of porch it won't work for me. In fact snake got inside my porch today. I will try the bunch up netting idea. I think that sounds good and workable. Thanks.

Jun 28, 2015
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Just had to kill my first snake
by: Anonymous

The bluebirds have come back every year and continue to have babies in the birdhouse we put out for them.

This morning I heard mama bird going crazy. I looked out and saw the snake relaxing after his breakfast with his head hanging out of the birdhouse.

I immediately headed for the tool shed to find whatever a person needs to rid a snake from a birdhouse.

I have never had to kill anything and I was not happy about this. After numerous attempts to coax him out with my soothing curses & banging on the house.

I finally realized that I could push the house off the top of the post and into the ground. With a couple swift knocks from the shovel I flipped the house off and out came a snake approx 4 feet long!

All I could hear was mama bird crying for her babies in my head and see those bulges in his body. I immediately thought of my little dogs who play in the yard less than 10 feet away.

After killing it, I vomited and cried. I cried for those sweet little babies, the mama bird and the snake I had to kill. I went inside and confessed over the phone to my mother (I'm 44 years old).
What a terrible terrible day.

Jun 11, 2015
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bird fanatic
by: Anonymous

I am just sick over first time having a black snake lounging in my front porch railing boxes with coleus in them.

I was watering when I noticed something move, then saw it wrapped around the porch column and wondered if the phoebe babies that were just born in a nest up in the corner of the column were ok. After snake left, I got a ladder out and nothing was there, I can't get this image out of my head.

I have had Phoebe's there before with success but the last 2 broods have been eaten. Thank you everyone for sharing thoughts on preventing this again and I will try anything, even though the King snake kills the poisonous snakes, I do not want ANY snake on the porch!

Jun 11, 2015
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snakes off
by: michael

I have read many of the comments above and feel for every one of you because I have been there. I just found a rat snake in one of my martin gourds yesterday. Thankfully the other birds let me know it was there.

A couple days before I found feathers on the ground where an adult had been eaten. That irritates me. I have been four years trying to build a colony and have only been able to get four pair to build.

This year I have nine pair and to have this happen is really a hard lick for me to take lightly. I looked out and saw more martins flying around my poles than I have seen anywhere. My neighbors birds had come to help too.

It looked like hundreds of them going around and around. A closer look, I found a adult hanging out of the gourd like it was hung. It was close to time for them to come in to roost so the sun was almost down and I could not see why the bird was hung.

As I let the nest down I saw a snake had the bird wrapped and the snakes head was in the gourd and its tail also. I reached and pulled the bird free and it went to the ground and took a breather while I cut the snakes head off.

The bird flew away and I'm sure it said a little prayer.

From here on I am taking moves to putting netting around my poles.

As for those that have lost young Bluebirds and other nesting baby birds, be watching for Starlings, they will take baby birds out of the nest and kill them especially if they want the other birds nesting areas.

A bitter sweet ending.

May 31, 2015
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snake in bird nest
by: Name

This is so Terrible, we have a carport in our back yard. We have a small Robin nest with 4 babies in it. We have watched them grow. Every day we sit there and see mommy and daddy bird feed their babies.

The babies only have about a week or so before they are ready to fly. Last week one of the babies fell out of the nest but luckily it fell on the grass side. When I went outside mommy and daddy bird were going crazy screaming and on the growing.

When I saw what was going on I found the baby and picked it up. It was in good shape so I put it back in the nest. Since then all four babies where doing great. Mom and dad has been feeding all of them.

I was so happy that I saved one of their babies and it is so enjoyable to see them grow up. NOW!! Just tonight I went out to the store and before I left they were all fine but when I got back it was dark out.

I did not hear a thing and I don't know but I just wanted to look at them so I turned the flash light on and to my surprise their was a black snake with one of the babies in his mouth. Aughh. I was so upset. I got a shovel and was able to hit the snake and it dropped the baby but it was to late.

I killed the damm snake which I normally would not do but I was so upset. After that I checked on the other babies and their was another baby that was killed also. So sad.

I took the dead one out and buried them both. Their are still two babies that are alive but very scared. I do not see mom or dad. Will they come back? What should I do now? I will not let them starve but just don't know what to do. Please help. Thanks.

Feb 27, 2015
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valuable advice
by: Janie

There are some great gems of advice on this page for a beginner like me. I'm going out tomorrow morning and take down the new bluebird house I just put up in a backyard tree!

I WILL be purchasing a pole with a baffle to install my birdhouse on along with a 2" entry hole extender ( did some research after reading many comments here).

Hopefully I will be doing enough to keep snakes out now that I realize I can actually be proactive in defending "my" birds! So sorry for everyone who has lost babies to snakes- hope everyone has better outcome this spring!

Feb 20, 2015
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ANOTHER IDEA
by: Holly

I so appreciate all the comments I have heard. We had three nesting boxes raided by snakes last year and I am determined to stop them this year.

One thought I've had is to take a really stiff chicken wire and clip it so the sharp pcs are sticking out and staple flaps of this below the houses. Just a thought.

Oct 28, 2014
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Don't Give Up
by: Gene

Don't give up just yet. You can purchase bird/deer netting and wrap it around your pines. We who use the netting are usually wrapping it around a post or pole with Purple Martin housing or placed on a post where a Bluebird house may be mounted.

You will have to use more depending on the size of tree. You can find the netting in the garden section of the big box stores like Lowes and Home Depot.

You'll have to cut the snake out but it works.

Oct 27, 2014
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Baby owls
by: Anonymous

We have Sreech Owl houses and have enjoyed watching owl babies fly away only once because SNAKES climb our huge pines and raid the houses close to time for the owlets to fledge!

Then I see a black snake head hanging out of the hole because it is TOO FAT to get back out of the owl house. We never let any snake LIVE once it gets our owlets!

I've seen this happen over and over again. Nothing works to protect our baby owls. I think we have tried it all. The truth is THIS IS NATURE! Snakes eat baby birds as a balance for nature.

I'm come to the decision I will NOT put up more birdhouses once all of ours rot and fall down. I feel like I am NOT being fair to birds by trapping them in birdhouses for easy pickings for snakes.

I just cannot stand to watch it any more! I treasure the fabulous year I had watching and taking pictures of the successful Screech owl family, but call me quits with houses for birds.

Snakes you win! I even liked snakes before they started eating the baby owls....

May 20, 2014
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Motion detector for my bird's nest.
by: Anonymous

I am trying to keep my baby birds safe. Cup-like nest, right outside my kitchen window, about six feet above the ground, nest hard to see from everyplace but my kitchen. My first experience.

I have neighbor's cats - I keep my cats inside - I have racoons.

I bought an $18.95 motion detector, with an inside receiver. I sleep with the receiver by my bed, and carry it around. Very sensitive. The sensor is in a large outside pot, 15 feet from the nest.

In addition, I gathered thistles and spread them thickly in a circle around the nest, with about an eight foot diameter.

I started to scatter citrus rinds, but remembered that raccoons like fruit.

I also have some repellant, but think it is the lesser of all my measures.

The motion detector is so sensitive I believe it would pick up a snake - mine picks up movement of the bush caused by wind.

May 14, 2014
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horse fencing
by: Anonymous

At this point, perhaps "subtle" electronic shock may be the answer. thoughts?

May 12, 2014
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Baby martins gone again (angry)
by: Anonymous

I have read all the comments and am wondering about the duct tape? What if it gets wet from the rain will I have to keep replacing it?

What about the Cheyenne pepper, do I apply it everyday? Seems it would blow away from the wind??

I am furious and have NO problem killing this snake that keeps getting my birds and their babies.

They built their nest on my porch and the only way I see this snake could get to them is to crawl up the lattice that is there on the other side. I have sat awake at night trying to catch it, but I always end up falling asleep and now for the fourth time my birds are gone!

Help PLEASE

May 08, 2014
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hardware cloth
by: Anonymous

Was it hardware cloth or bird netting that you used. Hardware cloth is metal and bird netting is a netting made of a plastic material.

Your netting needs to be on a frame in the shape of a women's skirt. 3 feet out would be good. It should be bunched up on the frame also.

The netting is sold as bird netting or deer netting. The size of the holes can make a difference. If too small the snakes can get over it. You want the snake to have to go through the netting and not around it.


Sorry that you lost your wrens.

May 08, 2014
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Hardware cloth doesn't work against gray ratsnake
by: Anonymous

Much to our dismay, probably more to the dismay of the wren and her babies (I don't know if mama escaped or not), we had a ~4' gray ratsnake that got them last night.

Saw on camera that it went right up and over the hardware cloth, which sits about 2' below the nest and extends ~ 1' out from the pole in all directions.

We caught the snake and displaced her a few nights ago, but I'm thinking she has a nest nearby (under our deck most likely) and found her way back. Anyway caught her on camera... if only the birds would have raised an alarm!

We had the screen open! Last year it was raccoon, this year a snake. Try again next year I guess...

As for the snake... it's future is YTBD.

Mar 29, 2014
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Barn Swallows & black snakes
by: Anonymous

We have barn swallows nest in our barn every year. I enjoy watching them - as they return each year to have their families, teach them how to fly, catch bugs. it's really cool to watch.

Snakes have been a problem. I read the bird netting idea and am going to try that this year.

I read in a different website that
hardware cloth works. going to try that too under my bird feeders - they eat the bluebirds too - and the wrens on the front porch. Bought a baffle and put that up today - got it at WBU. we'll see how that works.

I have used mothballs in nylon bags around the barn - and they don't work

2 years ago I started using Liquid Fence Snake Repellent Concentrate (the kind you mix yourself). I spray the perimeter of the barn 3 times a day with a 2 gallon pump sprayer.

I also spray on the boards close to the birds - and the outside walls where I suspect they are going to "slime" up to get to the nests.

I am thinking that it confuses or eliminates the snakes ability to smell the birds. At least that's the product's logic. It seemed to work well last year - (knock on wood).

I only found 2 snakes in the barn one night coming in to raid the nests. I'm sorry to say we killed them. I am terrified of them - and it's either the birds or them so I chose the birds.

It's not cheap - but they irritate me so much and ruin my day that I will spend the money and time to do this.

I used to call an exterminator each time - did that for years - so they could be escorted off our property and relocated miles away. Now we just kill them.

I know they have their place in nature - but not in my barn with the birds.

Apr 25, 2013
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Use Duct Tape!!
by: Karen

Last year a snake crawled into a hanging fern basket on our porch and ate the 4 little baby wrens in the nest there. Now there is a new nest.

I took some very slim pieces of wood (kind of like a skinny ruler) and wrapped them with duct tape, sticky side out. I placed them on the ledge that I assume the snake crawled onto to access the basket.

If one should crawl that way again this year, it will become stuck on the duct tape strips and we will dispose of him.

I once accidentally caught a ground rattler on some painter's tape when I was painting our exterior doors. I had left a small piece of tape attached to the trim, and when I came outside the next day, there was a ground rattler stuck in it!!

That's where I got the idea to use the duct tape. I'll bet you could wrap the pole a bird house is on using duct tape, sticky side out, and protect your birds that way. Get creative with the tape.

Sep 03, 2012
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snakes be gone
by: beth

I've read everyone's comments and they were helpful however I'm scared to death of snakes and have found two baby snakes on my porch in the past two days and I've used mouth balls and it is not working. Please any advice? On how to rid these babies my fear is there are more.

Aug 06, 2012
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...one more snake story
by: Karen

So sorry Angela to hear about your loss.
We currently have three 11 day old baby Carolina Wrens nesting in our Shamrock plant on the front porch.

The night after they hatched, a huge black snake came on our porch...slowly moving toward the planter. Thank God I saw him, as I was about to walk the dog at dusk. Hubby got a broom and struggled to sweep him off the porch.

Most research suggests repellant, as I would never kill the snake, but also don't use chemicals. Clove and cinnamon oil based repellant has worked so far....but since they haven't fledged as yet, we will also take Gene's suggestion of putting the bird netting under the planter and up to the nest.

Good luck with your next nesting...I'm sure there will be another for you to enjoy.

Jun 30, 2012
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Black Snake in hanging basket
by: DW

Fern on front porch with 4 little finch type birds. Came home and heard unusually loud noise from basket. Saw black snake curled in basket. Snake must have went up side of house and came off awning into hanging basket hanging from hook on porch. These birds have nested several times on porch in hanging "welcome" frog with compartment they could access to build nest. Have not seen Mother bird return so not sure if she survived or is staying away.

Jun 17, 2012
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robins gone:)
by: Anonymous

Had a nest in my carport and enjoyed watching mother coming and going and feeding the babies and then come back and new babies. Today we went outside, mother was in carport calling out screeching and we saw something up high in the nest, took it down big blake snake and it already ate the three babies. so sad should we move this nest? Will she come back and have more babies since this happened?

Jun 28, 2011
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Barn Swallows
by: Anonymous

Barn Swallows love to build their nest on your porch! My momma and daddy come back every spring - its been 6 years now - they were successful with raising 5 babies this year and I got to watch them fly off to the neighbors cause now momma and daddy barn swallow have 3 more babies to raise, I am sadden for I found 2 snakes in my yard and don't know what to do to help protect the barn swallows!! Advice is always welcomed!

Jun 23, 2011
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gopher snake gets in the nest
by: Annie

I also heard that if you rub cayenne pepper on the post, it will keep the snakes off of it! Today, I found my bird nest on my porch, and a baby gopher snake sitting on the ledge where it had been located.

One baby was on the porch, a ways from the nest...and he was still breathing. We relocated the snake and moved the nest and put the baby in it....mom sees him.....keeps watching over him....and I think she is feeding him, but not sure.

His eyes are still closed, breathing is shallow, and he has fuzz and some feathers. This is not a fledgling, sadly, and still needs to be fed by his mommy. I hope he makes it! The rest of the babies are gone. They were all alive yesterday!

Jun 16, 2010
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snake proof bird house
by: Jim Kelly

I had a problem with snakes eating baby blue birds. The bird house was on a wooden post about 5 feet above the ground and the snakes had no problem climbing the post and getting the babies. I replaced the wooden post with a 6 foot piece of metal electrical conduit pipe driven 1 foot in the ground and covered the metal pipe with axle grease. I reapply the grease on the pipe each spring. That was 2 years ago and I haven't lost a baby bird since.

May 07, 2010
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Bluebirds killed by black snake
by: chris d.

We watched with excitement as a pair of Eastern Bluebirds nested in a birdhouse on our back deck.

Around Easter we noticed 6 perfect little blue eggs that looked just like jelly beans in the nest. Soon they hatched, and the mother & father birds were busy day and night bringing food to the hungry little birds.

One morning I was watching them, and then in the afternoon I checked the nest and they were gone! Under the patio table I saw a black snake with bulges...the little bluebirds he had eaten!

I watched in horror as the snake went back into the empty birdhouse and curled himself up. The mother & father bluebirds were screeching and flying in a panic.

My husband then came home and killed the snake.

Now it is so sad because the bluebirds keep coming back to the birdhouse going in and out and chirping as if they cannot figure out where their babies are.

How long will they do this? Will they nest again and have more babies this year?

Jul 24, 2009
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Loss of baby robins
by: Anonymous

I share your pain, we just lost three baby robins today, presumably to a snake, I am so sad they were almost ready to fly, we have watched them for the past couple of weeks, it seems so cruel, I will follow suggestions from everyone, but have been so sad today, did not think it would happen as it happened to us two months ago, but we were home and the noise alerted us, my husband was able to get rid of the snake, did not think it would happen again. Do not want to go through this again.
Stella
Marble

Jun 29, 2009
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Thanks for the info
by: Angela

Cindy, thank you for the info about the bird droppings, I did not know that. I kept the porch clean off about every other day, just because of the mess. But, I was wondering how the snakes knew the birds were there.

Thank you,

Jun 29, 2009
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Snakes and baby birds
by: Anonymous

So, so sad. What about setting up a birdhouse..closest to where the bird couple are wanting to nest? Try removing whatever it is they are nesting in or on.. if at all possible. A bird house on a PVC pipe, at least four feet high, should keep a snake from the nesting pair. Hammering a type of plumbing pipe, into the ground, cut short.. as a sleeve to some PVC piping, would keep a snake from getting up to the bird house. And remember not to have bird feed.. anywhere near the nest. As seed droppings bring mice at night, which in turn bring the snakes.
Hope something works out.
Cindy
Ca. High desert mountains

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