Monday, August 15, 2022


Bird nest blues: It’s illegal to move a bird’s nest – even if it’s on your RV!

An RV neighbor of ours has been engaged in a bird battle for more than a week. It seems a robin has its sights set on the perfect nesting spot: under our friends’ Class A slide out. Somehow the little guy found a hollow corner that looked perfect for a nest. So, he and his mate have been working tirelessly to find straw bits, dried grass, and other suitable building material for their home. It’s been fun to watch. Well, from my perspective, that is. My neighbor isn’t enjoying the show!

The kicker: In the United States, it is illegal to remove or destroy an active bird’s nest. An active nest is defined as one with eggs or brooding adults in it. Only when the nest has been abandoned can the nest be removed.

Here’s a story about this from last summer, where RVers had the choice to stay put or face jail or $15,000 fine.

Check your RV for a bird nest

This incident serves as an important reminder to RV owners. Take time to check your RV top to bottom, even when you’re all set up at your campsite. You may be thinking: “I’m camping to relax, not work on my RV!” True, but if you fail to keep watch, you may be in for some trouble.

In many of the places we’ve camped, we’ve discovered unwanted pests. One time wasps built a great little home inside our exterior furnace vent. (Yes, we had installed a screen to prevent this.) We happened to notice that the screen was missing. I suppose it jiggled and popped off as we drove to our destination. The wasps didn’t waste any time. We’d been in our RV spot for just two days and within that time, a pretty good-sized nest was formed.

Another time, bees began a nest inside our RV’s bumper because one of the bumper caps fell off during transit. I’ve seen birds nesting in a long-term RVer’s television antenna, and have spotted a sizeable trail of ants making their way up a water hose and into the RV.  It happens. While we’re visiting nature, you can pretty well bet that nature will visit us, as well.

Easy fix

The good news is that it doesn’t take much time to simply check your RV. Each morning (or evening before dusk) walk around your rig. Check for dripping hoses, missing screens, and places where birds or other creatures might be making their nests. Don’t forget to look up, as well. If a recent wind blew through camp, check for broken limbs, wet leaves, or other debris on top of your RV’s roof or slides.

With a little preventive action, big problems can be averted.



Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
2 months ago

One year the robins decided to build a nest on one of our RV’s front tires. This was discovered before our first summer camping trip, thank goodness! So we watched and waited until the birds hatched & flew away. Was an interesting show. . .

Rebecca Whitney
4 months ago

I have a suggestion that might keep birds away. I know it works for my barn.
Get a blow up eye to hang in key places. It is like a blow up beach ball with a weird looking “eye” design and metallic streamers hanging from bottom.
I hung one on each overhead door so they dangle when doors are open.
I have zero problems with birds now. It should work the same for sliders and hitch areas.

4 months ago

I found the dogs tied up to the area keeps them at bay. They are always sniffing around the rig looking for interesting things and birds are one of them. I suggest also looking underneath with a mirror. I got a surprise to find a rattle snake resting up underneath the trailer tongue.

1 year ago

You don’t need to touch the nest. Just hook up and drive….

Brenda Odom
1 year ago

Just this spring, we were camp hosting in Virginia. Hubby was checking under the hood in preparation for our departure. Lo and behold…a bird nest!

We called the ranger who talked to their birding experts. They came back the next day with a birdhouse on stilts sort of thing and sat it directly in front of the RV. Wearing gloves, they carefully moved the nest to the birdhouse. They then told us to move the birdhouse no more than 3 feet each day until we reached the edge of the wooded area.

Unfortunately, we never saw the mother return. We now think the nest may have been there from our earlier stay at a different site in the same park. We never thought to check under the hood to move a few sites away. Lesson learned.

1 year ago

A cite to the actual law would be nice. Endangered species? Migratory species? How about English house sparrows? You are perpetuating needless hysteria without taking any time to investigate the facts. Like those YouBoobers, you’re searching for clicks and to hell with the consequences. Shameful and does a disservice to an otherwise fine publication.

1 year ago
Reply to  Firefly

I agree that there should have been a cite to the actual law, like this:
But I don’t see how this is perpetuating needless hysteria. This article had good intentions and is good, although incomplete, information. As a former wildlife rehabilitator, I believe people appreciate being made aware of issues before they have to deal with them themselves.

1 year ago

Bring the slides and relocate to your next destination! Sorry but I’m not waiting around 6-8 weeks. I will be checking out the RV daily and the first twig I see, it will be gone!

1 year ago

Fresh eggs = omelets!

1 year ago

If they have not laid eggs yet, it is legal to remove it.
It is illegal to remove or destroy any active nest from a native bird species, defined as a nest with eggs or brooding adults in it. If the nest has been abandoned or no eggs have yet been laid, it can be removed or destroyed as needed. Nests of invasive birds, such as house sparrows or European starlings, however, are not protected at any time. 

1 year ago
Reply to  rvgrandma

We humans have all manner of designations for wild animals that we move or cause to move, such as invasive or nuisance, yet we blunder into every corner of the planet with impunity. Destroying a nest of eggs or hatchlings is a shitty thing to do, regardless of what designation we’ve chosen to give.

1 year ago
Reply to  Sreilly

I second that

inGene Bjerke
1 year ago

Some years back, the public ferry at Jamestown, VA, had to shut down one slip for the summer because an osprey decided to build a nest on a piling.

Deborah Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  inGene Bjerke

As of last week it looked like ospreys were building a nest on one of the channel buoys even though a wooden platform was built in the water for nests.

1 year ago

They saw they nest being built. They could have discouraged the birds from the beginning.
We had sparrows that thought the area under our house awning was a great place for a nest. We just blocked access to the corners of the awning with some crushed milk containers. After a few days they realized they could no longer nest there.
Once the eggs are in the nest, it is illegal to remove or try to relocate the nest. The birds will likely abandon it.
Years ago, the state was to repair and renovate a major bridge near us. All work was scheduled, then they found a peregrine falcon nesting on one of the support beams. The job was halted until the young ones fledged.

Terri R
1 year ago

So it may be illegal but it is also simple to remove a nest & relocate it securely to a nearby tree or bush of similar height. Helping wildlife rehabbers we often would place nests into produce baskets to replace them after trees blew down. Surprised to read it is illegal!

1 year ago

Yeah…. no that ain’t happening. They would have to catch me first and I doubt that someone is watching RV’s 24/7, to make sure the owners aren’t removing nests.

1 year ago
Reply to  Allen


Dan Kruger
4 months ago
Reply to  rich


1 year ago
Reply to  Allen

You can never guarantee that you’re out of sight of sentient humans who camp because they enjoy and respect wildlife.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Every Saturday and Sunday morning. Serving RVers for more than 20 years.