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Old 04-04-2009, 12:45 AM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Bayou Country
Posts: 272
How do I keep birds from nesting in my mailbox?

Preferably in a nice, non-harmful to the birds way.

For the past couple weeks, I've come home to a new bird's nest in my mailbox every few days. I always clean it out, and it always comes back. I'm afraid that one day I won't get home in time, and there will be eggs.

My mail carrier drops off my mail in the early afternoon, and for some reason, s/he leaves the door to the mailbox open afterward. I get home from work 3-4 hours later, and there's a fairly well-developed nest in there. I clean it out; they build it again.

Keeping in mind that I'm basically broke, what can I do?
Old 04-04-2009, 12:53 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: NoWA
Posts: 57,871
Leave a note to the mail carrier to close the hatch?
Old 04-04-2009, 06:09 PM
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: NH
Posts: 21,859
A door?
Old 04-04-2009, 06:18 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 27,361
Identify the leader. Murder him or her in the most sadistic fashion possible. Leave his or her head on the box as an example to the others.

Alternatively, get a cat.
Old 04-04-2009, 06:49 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Corn country
Posts: 3,417
Spring-loaded door?
Old 04-04-2009, 07:00 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Dayton Ohio USA
Posts: 26,975
Originally Posted by Jayn_Newell View Post
Spring-loaded door?
or weigh it down with a weight. Springs like to rust. Come to think about it, I don't remember a mailbox lid that didn't naturally close so oiling it should do the trick.
Old 04-04-2009, 07:09 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Southern Oregon
Posts: 6,436
If we're talking about a mechanical solution, do you have the sort of mailbox where the hinges are at the bottom or the top?
Old 04-04-2009, 08:00 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Somewhere near Boston
Posts: 9,907
Until nesting season is over, drape some cheesecloth or other light netting over the mouth of the mailbox. Weight the bottom of the cloth so that the wind won't blow it off.

Failing that, get a couple of neodymium magnets and glue them to the lid of the mailbox and mailbox proper so that you'll get a very positive locking effect, proof against even the most slothful mail delivery person.
Old 04-04-2009, 08:16 PM
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Obama City
Posts: 3,642
Honestly I think I'd start with calling the post office to register a polite complaint. Your mail carrier should be shutting the door -- by not doing so, aside from nesting birds, you run the risk that your mail could be stolen, or fall out and get blown away and lost by a decent puff of wind, or soaked by a rainstorm. Your mail carrier isn't doing his/her job properly, leaving it open.

I wouldn't throw a huge fit on the phone or anything, just politely ask the postmaster to speak to whoever handles your route and remind him/her to close the mailbox door.
Old 04-04-2009, 10:01 PM
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Great White North
Posts: 19,991
Get one of these:
Old 04-04-2009, 10:24 PM
SD Curator of Critters
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Panama
Posts: 37,611
Get one of these and put it near the mailbox. Move it around every few days so they don't get used to it.
Old 04-04-2009, 10:37 PM
Elephant Whisperer
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Posts: 38,487
Put up a second mailbox and keep the first one as a bird home.
Old 04-05-2009, 12:20 AM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Bayou Country
Posts: 272
Thanks, everyone. Except for Skald and Muffin. I'll have to read each answer more closely and then reply.

Last edited by Inter Alia; 04-05-2009 at 12:21 AM. Reason: To add the half-baked goods
Old 04-05-2009, 12:37 AM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Bayou Country
Posts: 272
Magiver and appleciders, itís a plastic mailbox with a plastic hinge on the bottom. There arenít any springs or anything to oil.

Finagle, the cheesecloth and the magnets are both really good ideas. I already have cheesecloth, so Iíll try that first.

Kaio, my mail has gotten soaked a couple times. Iíd probably try Johnny L.A.ís note idea before registering a complaint, even a polite one.

What if I put a birdhouse near the mailbox? Is it possible to redirect them? I donít mind having the birds around, I just donít want them in my mailbox.
Old 04-05-2009, 12:56 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: NoWA
Posts: 57,871
Originally Posted by Inter Alia View Post
itís a plastic mailbox with a plastic hinge on the bottom. There arenít any springs or anything to oil.
I almost mentioned adding springs in my first reply, but reckoned I'd see where the leaving-a-note suggestion went first. I also thought of something else:

Get a stick and screw it onto the bottom of the hatch, such that most of the stick is pointing to the ground. Put a weight at the end of the stick. When the door is opened, the weight is raised. Release the door, and the weight drops closing it. It would look a little funky, and the mail carrier might be annoyed at having to hold the door opened while putting the mail in; but it would probably work.

But yeah, leave a polite note first. 'Dear Mail Carrier, I wonder if you wouldn't mind closing the mailbox after you put my mail in. I'm having problems with birds building nests in it when it's left open. Thank you, Inter Alia'
Old 04-05-2009, 01:53 AM
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 5,173
crisscross fishing line over the opening - they use this method to keep birds from flying into windows.
Old 04-06-2009, 07:02 AM
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Posts: 6,602
Originally Posted by drastic_quench View Post
crisscross fishing line over the opening - they use this method to keep birds from flying into windows.
I think the mail carrier would have a problem with this solution. I vote for the note, too...or just leave one nest for the mail carrier to find the next day.
Old 04-06-2009, 10:00 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Florida
Posts: 2,938
I second Siam Sam's opinion
Old 04-06-2009, 03:35 PM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 302
Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
Get one of these and put it near the mailbox. Move it around every few days so they don't get used to it.
Funny timing on this OP. I am having a problem with birds trying to build a nest on my porch lamp. It's too smooth for them to get it going so instead I get a massive clump of twigs right below it in an awkward spot where I can't get a broom. It's pretty amazing, the quantity of debris that gets left there each day. After a month of this you'd think the bird would have learned a nest isn't going to work there.

I just ordered a similar owl sculpture off Amazon with rotating head that twists in the wind to make it more realistic. I'll let you know if it works for me.
Old 04-06-2009, 04:57 PM
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 11,497
put a rubber snake around the mail box? Move it around everyday, like the owl. leave a note for the mail-carrier, "caution rubber snake to scare birds", so he or she doesn't freak out.
Old 04-06-2009, 05:55 PM
Voodoo Adult (Slight Return)
Charter Member
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Charlotte, NC, USA
Posts: 24,883
Here you go.
Old 04-13-2009, 05:39 PM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Bayou Country
Posts: 272
So far, magnets seem to be the answer. I don't know how long super glue will last in this Southern heat and humidity, though.
Old 04-13-2009, 07:19 PM
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: San Antonio, TX
Posts: 2,375

Just write a note and leave it in your mailbox; don't bother with calling the postmaster or "making a complaint."

Just write a note on a Post-It that says "Hello Mail Carrier! I am having a problem with birds nesting in here; could you please close the door all the way? Thank you so much!" signed with your name. I'm a girl so I would add a smiley face.

I've written my mail carrier notes in the mail box, and the problem has always stopped there. Who could complain about a simple polite note? You're not complaining; you're politely requesting.

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