9 Ways to Keep Birds Off Window AC That Actually Work

Last Updated on January 2, 2024

Air conditioning is necessary to maintain comfortable environment in your living space. Many people living in regions with seasonal fluctuations take their window air conditioners out in summer or spring.

However, quality of air provided by your window air conditioner and its cooling performance can deteriorate by a very common issue of birds nesting and polluting the surroundings, inside and top of your AC unit.

So how to keep birds off window air conditioner? Birds can nest on, around and inside your window air conditioner in summer and spring. You can take simple measures to prevent this: Installing bird spikes, cleaning and wiping with strong solutions, making window AC top less accessible, and using scare models and other bird deterrents.

Birds may land on your air conditioner early in the morning making it very uncomfortable for you to sleep. Not to mention bird droppings and poop that will not only make your AC unit dirty but reduce the quality of air that is sucked in by its blower.

I have been researching this topic for a while now to find out what truly works to get rid of this problem. I decided to share it by writing an article on it. Several methods are mentioned in this article that you can use collectively to resolve this problem.

Photo By: Jeff Dallien

Why Birds Make Nest With In and On Top of Your Window Air Conditioner

Birds are looking for a secure and damp place to stay and nest. They want a spot that is not accessible, shaded and safe. That is why some birds may go inside holes of window air conditioner and make a nest inside it.

Internal section of a window AC is shaded and somewhat cool due to flow of air. Vacant spaces on sides of window AC unit also present birds suitable spots that are inaccessible, safe and not in direct sunlight.

Birds on Air Conditioner

How to Keep Birds Off Window Air Conditioner

1. Use Bird Spikes

You can use bird spikes at spots and sections of your air conditioner on which the birds sit or nest.

Bird Spikes on Window Air Conditioner

These spikes are flexible and can be trimmed if needed. They prevents birds from sitting on area of installation.

Bird spikes have worked for many people not only for air conditioners but so many other places like grills, shades, roof, and chimneys etc.

I have saved you the trouble of finding a good one yourself. This specific package already includes adhesive required for attaching the spikes.

You can check it out on Amazon by clicking here.

2. Relocation of Feed and Bath for Birds

Bird Food/Water/Bath

It is very kind to provide birds a cup of feed or water so they can eat, drink and even cool by dipping in water.

But when you are about to install a window air conditioner in summer you will need to relocate bird feed and bath.

It is better to keep bird feed on the opposite side of your house. Birds make nest close to where food is easily accessible to them.

If you are thinking of having a bird feed, do not be demotivated, just do it far away from air conditioner, on the other side of your home.

3. Cleaning Nesting Material (if any)

If birds made nest in, on or around your window air conditioner and you have already removed it, make sure you completely get rid of it.

Check for sticks, grass etc. around window air conditioner. Also check for nests or traces of nest close to your AC unit. Get rid of those sticks, feathers and twigs entirely.

4. Mount a Slanted Cardboard

It can be really disturbing in the morning lying on your bed at sunrise and not be able to sleep anymore.

You are very sleepy but cannot sleep because of birds dwindling on your window air conditioner and making a scratching sharp sound.

A simple solution exists for the top of your AC.

  • Take a cardboard, cut it a bit longer than the length of your window AC.
  • Then cut another piece of cardboard but smaller.
  • Use the larger piece of cardboard to slant on smaller piece, at an angle on top of your window AC.
Cardboard Wedge
Image by Little Red Window

Note: Make sure to seal the space in the triangle formed by cardboard pieces. This will prevent birds from nesting within that space. You can use other pieces of cardboard to seal that space.

5. Seal the Holes in Your Window Air Conditioner

Look around your air conditioner to find any holes or spaces through which the birds may get in.

Trace for any nest or its traces with in your window air conditioner before taking any measures to seal the apparent holes.

If you cannot find any vacant zone in the external body of your air conditioner, make sure to give a look inside. If you still find any traces you will know birds were able to enter from some hole you missed.

You can use cardboard or anything similar to seal holes through which birds may get in. This will also improve performance of your AC a little bit.

6. Use Bird Deterrents, Reflectors and Scare Models

There are many things that you can use to repel birds from your air conditioner.

Birds do not like reflecting material. You may use different spots on your air conditioner to adhere something shiny like CDs or other reflectors.

There are artificial fake owls, hawks and snakes available in the market that can be installed on or near window air conditioner at a suitable angle to prevent birds from sitting or nesting on and even near it.

These fake models have worked for many people not specifically for their air conditioners but also to prevent birds from sitting and pooping on their grills, shades etc.

The other day I came across a product that was one of these models (specifically owl). It is not only a model of an owl for scaring birds but also has reflective material on it to scare them away. It has been pretty successful with good reviews. You may check it on Amazon by clicking here.

Want another option for a wider area, you can consider these Bird Scare Discs. This one specifically I selected for you is a set of as many as 24 discs. Give a look into its detailed specifications.

An even cheaper alternative to scare discs is a scare tape. You can hang it close to your window to deter birds from your AC. In case you use this, just remember to keep it at a suitable distance to prevent it from getting sucked by window AC fan. Here is the one I choose for you.

7. Surrounding Air Conditioner by Bird Netting

You can also cover your window air conditioner by bird netting. It will prevent birds from interacting with your AC.

There are some air conditioner servicing companies that provide netting service and can setup a bird net around your air conditioner.

Bird Net Window Air Conditioner
This one is an outdoor unit for Split AC, but you may do the same for your Window AC

The downside is that netting is not easy for every location of air conditioner.

For air conditioners with separate condensers (Split ACs), it is convenient as their outdoor units remain there after installation, despite the change of season.

However, for window air conditioner specifically, that has to be winterized after spring or summer, it may not be a popular choice.

Considering window air conditioners specifically, I have selected a bird netting for you. You may have to size it, other than that it is good to go. You can check it on Amazon by clicking here.

8. Wiping with a Strong Solution

It is a good idea to clean your AC regularly.

Wipe your window AC with a strong solution that deter birds from sitting on it. You may use vinegar or bleach to wipe surface of your air conditioner.

If you use other deterrents like fake models or reflectors, still wiping it would prevent birds even more from interacting with your window AC.

9. Use Bird Repellent Gel

You can also use bird proof gel to prevent birds from sitting on your window AC or making nest around it.

It is very unlikely for birds to land on repellent gel. Even if they do land they are going to feel uncomfortable and take off.

I have selected the repellent gel that has worked for most people. You can check it on Amazon by clicking here.

Besides it also prevents diseases that are carried by birds and prevents fire hazards in case there is a fire nearby.


Make sure you only use suitable quantity of gel. Smearing large quantities may result in sticking of birds if they land on it. They will die from hunger due to this.

Apply dots only on the area where it has to be applied as provided in the instructions given on the product.

How Birds Can Affect You and Your Window Air Conditioner

Congestion of Evaporator Coil

Air that the blower blows across the evaporator coil is cooled by absorbing heat from the air. Twigs, feathers, grass and sticks can clog the evaporator coil.

As a result, air from blower will not properly interact with evaporator coil and required cooling will not be possible. Further, despite less cooling their will be an increase in electricity consumption.

Poor Air Circulation

Nesting material, feathers and droppings of birds may be sucked by the blower and result in clogging of filter.

Consequently, airflow will be constricted resulting in increased usage of electricity. More importantly, dirty and filthy filter will deliver low quality air that is unhealthy for you.

Blocked Condensation Lines

Junk stuffed in fins of condensation lines will cause decreased efficiency of window air conditioner. Bird droppings and nesting material can also clog the condensation lines that are on the outside section of window air conditioner. Heat is rejected by fins to the external environment by refrigerant moving in those lines.

Due to insufficient contact of fins with air, not only will you have reduced cooling but also inadequate airflow and air quality.

Poor Air Quality

Birds in many parts of the world carry bugs and mites that can be sucked by your window air conditioner to the living space. This can cause serious skin problems and other diseases.

These dropping of birds on and around AC should be cleaned thoroughly and regularly. They can dry up in the vicinity of window AC and cause serious health hazards. Particles in these droppings delivered to your room can spread microbes, resulting in harmful diseases like Histoplasmosis, Cryptococcosis, St. Louis Encephalitis etc.

Birds and their droppings can carry over 60 diseases.


Damage to Insulation

AC refrigerant lines are covered by insulation to prevent refrigeration from escaping before being delivered to evaporator coils. Birds may peck off that insulation and break it off.

Resultantly, escaped refrigeration will have an effect on overall cooling performed by window air conditioner. Electricity consumption will also be increased due to loss of cooling.

Compressor Failure

Compressor is the fundamental moving component of your window AC. Blower and exhaust fan are linked to the working of compressor. Nesting material, junk and droppings of birds may stuff air conditioner to the extent that the operation of compressor is hindered.

This problem may be caused by interruption in the rotation of blower (that delivers cool air indoor) or exhaust fan (that delivers warm air outdoor). 

Your window AC will require early service due to clogging of running components. If not serviced, it will cause your compressor to lose efficiency and eventually break down.

Bird Nesting Material As Fire Hazard

Most of the material used in the formation of nest by the birds is inflammable. It consists of twigs and sticks made up of wood and wood can burn. Grass and feathers are also inflammable.

A small spark in the window air conditioner may result in burning of this nesting material. Eventually this fire will be caught by other things that are burnable and close by i.e. curtain, window etc. It can also kill baby birds contained in the nest in the absence of mother bird.