A trampoline in the backyard is a kid magnet, and apparently a bird magnet as well. As soon as you put a trampoline in the yard for the kids to enjoy, along come the birds to sit on and poop on it. So frustrating!
The best way to keep birds off the trampoline is to prevent them landing on the net with cable ties, fishing line or even bird spikes attached to the top of the safety net. You can also add an owl statue close to the trampoline with a bobbing head to deter the birds.
Bird poop is dirty stuff indeed. Ideally, you want the kids to be able to run outside and play on the trampoline, without you having to do a major cleaning intervention.
We’re going to cover both of these topics in the article below, after explaining why bird poop is dangerous to humans.
Is Bird Poop Harmful To Humans?
Bird poop can harmful to humans, as they can contain germs and parasites. Whilst the risk is low from just cleaning off one dropping from one bird, the risk increases when you have an accumulation of bird droppings.
Bird droppings can cause histoplasmosis, cryptococcosis, psittacosis and gastrointestinal illness. Generally, illness is caused by either breathing in the fungal spores or contaminated hands touching the mouth.
Histoplasmosis is caused by a fungus called Histoplasma capsulatum. This fungus is found in bird droppings in the environment when they have built up for around two years, and enter the body when the spores are inhaled. Whilst generally not dangerous, young children are at risk, and the illness presents as high fever, pneumonia and even death.
Cryptococcosis is another fungal infection caused by a yeast-like fungus called Cryptococcosis neoformans. Again, this fungus is found in the environment, particularly around pigeon droppings. Kids can become infected if they breathe it in. It commonly causes meningitis or a chest infection.
Psittacosis is a bacterial infection caused by Chlamydia psittaci. It is shed in droppings of birds such as parrots and pigeons. Kids can inhale the bacteria when it’s disturbed, and may develop a mild to moderate respiratory illness, but it can also be more serious.
Finally, bird (and bat) droppings can cause gastrointestinal illnesses, from bugs such as Salmonella and E. coli, and can result in nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital has an excellent article about Infections that Pets Carry, including birds and bird droppings.
It’s essential that you wash your hands well after cleaning up bird poop, and wear a mask to avoid breathing in any associated bacterial or fungal pathogens.
How To Stop Birds Pooping On My Trampoline?
If you have trouble with birds pooping on your trampoline, we need to look at where the birds are. Your solution will depend on which species of birds you have, and just how big of a problem you have.
If the birds are roosting in trees above, they will sit up there, squawk, hold a general meeting, and then leave their mess all over your trampoline. In this case, the best thing to do is move your trampoline out from under the direct line of sight of the bird droppings. This will also help reduce leaf litter on your trampoline.
If you don’t have anywhere else suitable to put the trampoline, you might need to invest in or make a tarp of netting to sit above the trampoline. This will sit above the trampoline safety net like a giant cap. I’d recommend making it out of fine netting. This will catch almost all of the droppings, but also let the rain get through. When a tarp gets full of water, it will become very heavy, and damage the safety net poles.
If the birds are landing on the actual safety net, we need to stop them from sitting on the trampoline net. When they settle on the net, it won’t be long before the side of the net has little waterfalls of white bird poop down the sides. Please read on below to discover some excellent solutions.
How Can I Keep Birds Off My Trampoline Net?
Whilst it’s possible to clean off bird droppings, it’s far more hygienic (and much easier than scrubbing) to prevent birds from pooping in the first place.
1. Cable Ties
One of the simplest solutions to stopping birds from landing on the trampoline safety net is cable ties.
The idea is to attach cable ties every 2 inches around the top of the safety net, with the loose ends sticking straight up.
This stops birds from landing on the top of the safety net, as the sharp points of the cable ties feel awkward on their bodies.
2. Fishing Line
Another solution that is elegant and effective is to use fishing line.
You tie fishing line between the safety net poles about 2 inches above the net. This fishing line is difficult for the birds to land on, and even more impossible for them to sit on.
3. Bird Spikes
Bird spikes are one of the major deterrents for birds globally. You’ve seen these on signs, on buildings, even outdoor umbrellas. There is a thin line of plastic, around a dozen inches long or so, and needles of plastic stick up at various angles, again making it difficult for birds to perch.
Measure out the number of bird spikes that you need, and attach with cable ties to the top of the net. Secure them half an inch under the top of the net, so that the spikes can’t bend and twist away from facing upwards.
4. Plastic Owl with a Bobbing Head
My mother swears by these for her garden. She had tried hanging old CDs that shine and reflect light as they twist and turn. However, her birds were too smart and grew a bit familiar with the CDs.
However, it seems that my mother is the only one. Most people with these fake owls report that within a few days, other birds become accustomed to it, and don’t fly away at all.
If you’re still keen, there are some fairly fancy owls out there, even solar powered ones that are 18” tall.
How To Remove Dried Bird Poop From The Trampoline Mat and Net?
Here’s the way that I’ve found most useful to remove bird poop from the trampoline when I don’t have a pressure washer. If you do have a pressure washer, please see the next section.
1. The best way to remove bird poop from the trampoline is to wait until it is dry.
2. With mask and gloves on, scrape off any large solid pieces of guano (the fancy word for bird poop). Immediately put this into a bag for disposal later. You want to make sure that you are not making a pile of bird poop on the grass, which could be dangerous to the kids’ health.
3. If you have a pressure washer, wash down any affected areas on the net or mat.
4. If you don’t have a pressure washer, using a soapy wet sponge, dampen the remaining bird poop. If this is on the trampoline mat, it should be fairly easy to reach the topside. However, if the bird poop is on the safety net, you may need to hold it tight, and wet it from the inside and the outside.
5. Rub in a circular motion with the sponge. Once the trampoline seems clean, rinse it off with clean water until the suds are gone.
6. Leave to dry out, and then send the kids to have a good play.
Prevention is a great deal more useful that cure in this case. I would strongly recommend stopping birds from landing on the trampoline, or sitting in a tree above the trampoline. If you do end up with bird poop on the trampoline, be sure to clean it off relatively quickly, as it has the potential to be harmful to health.