What to Do About Birds Nesting in Gutters

What to Do About Birds Nesting in Gutters

We have talked a lot about birds nesting in dryer vents throughout Maryland. While this is a common problem, it’s not the only place where birds tend to nest from our experience as Maryland bird removal technicians. Their another favorite spot you should keep an eye on is gutters. All kinds of birds nest in gutters, including starlings, doves, finches, thrushes and many other small and mid-size birds. Let’s take a quick look at what to do if you find birds in your gutters, like this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qaBVGV7y050

Why Bird Nests in Gutters Are Bad

In case you have birds nesting in your gutters but haven’t encountered real problems yet, here is why you should consider removing them: Bird nesting materials may eventually clog your gutter and cause it to overflow. As you may know, bird nests are made of twigs, leaves, grass clippings and feathers—the kind of stuff you want to keep out of the gutters. While a single bird nest can’t possibly clog the entire gutter, keep in mind that the gutter empties into a downspout. Coincidentally, the edge of the gutter where it connects to the downspout is where birds often choose to nest, because this area is often protected by the overhanging roof. As long as the entrance to the downspout is clogged, the gutter has nowhere to drain. Overflowing gutter, in turn, can ruin your landscaping and even cause your basement to flood. Birds in gutters can be loud. Depending on how well-insulated your home is, birds in gutters can easily wake you up at 5am. Besides the tweeting, you also get the sound of their claws against metal gutters, which travels the full length of the gutter. Once their eggs hatch, birds make numerous trips to find food for their babies, and they perch on the gutter every time they return, making the noise. Birds can get stuck in downspouts. If an adult bird or a young hatching falls into a downspout, they may be unable to get out. There isn’t enough roof for them to fly and crawling is not an option on smooth metal. The downspout exit may be too narrow for the bird to fit through, or it may be connected to your french drain, which means a bird can’t exit through it. Either way, any sort of blockage in the downspout will cause it to back up.

How to Stop Birds From Nesting in Gutters

When it comes to birds, a little bit of prevention goes a long way. Many birds tend to return every year to the same nesting spot, which means if they nested in your gutters once, they will try to do it again… Unless you make your gutters unsafe, unsuitable or inhospitable environment for laying eggs. How do you do that? Here are a few solutions:

Gutter Guard

Gutter guards are sold under many different brands, but they all work the same way. They cover your gutter and act as a filter to prevent leaves and other debris from getting inside. As a bonus, they make your gutters flat at the top, and it’s difficult to build a stable nest on a flat surface. If a bird does manage to do this, at least debris will stay on top of the gutter and won’t clog it.


Decoys like plastic owls, snakes and similar creatures that scare birds may be enough to keep your gutters bird-free. There are even more complicated motion sensor decoys that activate only when the birds are near and frighten them with a sudden noise or movement.

Bird Spikes

Bird spikes are a relatively new bird management device. It’s frequently used in commercial applications to prevent birds from perching on the edges of a building. Bird spikes are similar to barb wire in appearance, but are much longer and have blunted edges. When you install them on your gutters, they will cover the top of the gutter without interfering with its function. Birds will be unable to lend on such gutters, so they won’t be building nests there. At Mid-Atlantic Wildlife Control, we both remove birds from gutters and eves and help you prevent future problems by installing bird spikes or recommending other solutions. Give us a call or contact online today to learn more about how we can help you stop birds from nesting in your gutters.

Beware of These Maryland Birds That Nest in Vents

Beware of These Maryland Birds That Nest in Vents

Spring is beautiful and exciting, but it’s also the time when we get a lot of calls about wildlife problems. In March and April these calls are usually related to bird removal in Maryland. There are several birds in our state that like to build nests in our homes, whether it’s in cavities, such as dryer vents or in sheltered areas, such as attics. It’s important to know these birds and be able to identify the problem quickly, so that you can get the birds removed before they do any serious damage.

Sparrows Nesting in Vents

English house sparrows are rather common in Maryland and in U.S. in general. Interestingly, they are not native to this continent and are found virtually all over the world. They are cavity-nesting birds, which means they like to build nests in tight, covered spaces. This could be letters of a storefront sign, a broken light fixture, rafters, as well as dryer vents and similar spaces. House sparrow nests can be messy and tightly packed, so if they are nesting in a vent, they can restrict the air flow significantly. House sparrows also compete with other native birds for resources and can be rather aggressive. If you are trying to attract bluebirds or chickadees to your yard, you may have to manage house sparrows to make sure they don’t harass and kill other birds. House sparrows look similar to a few other birds. Here is a video showing how you can identify them correctly. If you see house sparrow going in and out of your roof or dryer vent, contact us right away! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAU59srRzAs

Starlings Nesting in Vents

European starling is a bird about the size of a robin that also likes to nest in vents, including dryer vents, stove vents and bathroom exhaust vents. In the wild, starlings nest in tree cavities, so any open gaps on your home’s exterior look perfect for them. They will even nest in unused grills! European starlings, as you may have guessed from the name, are also not a native species. Amazingly, they can build a nest in just one to three days, which means you should watch out for them and act fast if you find one nesting in your vent. Similar to house sparrows, European starlings can also be aggressive toward other birds, especially smaller ones, driving them away from your property. Here is an example of a starling gaining access to its nest inside a dryer vent: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlKFsNmVhAE

Be Careful When Removing Birds From Vents

European starling and English house sparrow are the most common birds in Maryland that choose to nest in vents. As you already know, their activities can block the vent, preventing it from doing what it’s supposed to do. If it’s a dryer vent, the nest may prevent your clothes from getting dry and may cause the dryer to overheat and even start a fire. If it’s a bathroom vent, it may create plumbing problems or cause unpleasant smell. Beside the obvious, birds nesting in vents also create problems due to their noise, parasites and droppings that fall on the exterior of your home. Before you take the steps to remove nesting birds, make sure you can positively identify the species. Many birds in the U.S. are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which means their nests can’t be disturbed without a special permit. If you are not sure which bird species you are dealing with, it’s best to call a Maryland bird removal expert like our techs here at Mid-Atlantic Wildlife Control.

Montgomery County Exterminator vs. Pest Control

Montgomery County Exterminator vs. Pest Control

If you are looking for wildlife removal in Montgomery County, you’ve probably seen quite a few ads for local pest control companies and exterminators. But do they provide the services you need? Sometimes you can guess this by the company name alone. Allow us to explain the difference!

What Exterminators Do

As the name suggests, exterminators are mostly in the business of killing house pests such as cockroaches, ants, bed bugs, fleas, termites, mice, rats and similar insects and rodents. These pests typically grow to rather large populations and need to be exterminated if you want them gone, as they won’t leave on their own. Montgomery County exterminators use a mix of pesticides, insecticides and traps to free your home of the unwanted pests. For the most part, if a company calls themselves an exterminator, it’s unlikely that they can help you with wildlife such as squirrels or raccoons, or at least this is not their specialty.

What Pest Control Companies Do

A pest control company is similar to an exterminator, but they may offer more services than just pest removal. Of course, it depends on the company, but many do much more than come to your home and spray poison or set traps. They may also either give you recommendations or help you modify your home to prevent future infestations. These companies may also help with pest animals other than the obvious mice, ants and cockroaches. They often deal with flies and gnats, bees, wasps, beetles and virtually any pest insect. Some even take care of wildlife such as bats and foxes, but it’s usually a smaller portion of their business.

What Wildlife Control Companies Do

If you are having problems with wildlife in Montgomery County or anywhere else in Maryland, your best bet is to hire a company that has animal control, wildlife control or wildlife removal in its name. This means that this company actually specializes in wildlife removal, which requires a different set of skills and is subject to different laws and regulations. Maryland wildlife removal companies have to be licensed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, which sets the rules for when and how certain types of wildlife can be disturbed.

The Humane Approach

If you share the concern for the well-being of the animals that will be removed from your home, it’s a good idea to check whether the company practices humane wildlife removal methods. The humane approach has to do with how safely the animals are handled when removed, which of course is the opposite of extermination. But it also concerns what happens to the evicted wildlife. Are they relocated to a new area where they can survive? Are they taken to wildlife rehabilitation facilities if they are too young to be on their own? Are they treated if they are injured? There is a lot that goes into humane wildlife removal, and you can rest assured that at Mid-Atlantic Wildlife Control we do this the right way! Want to learn more about our services or what makes us different from other Montgomery County pest control companies and exterminators? Give us a call or contact online today.

How to Attract Birds Without Attracting Squirrels

How to Attract Birds Without Attracting Squirrels

Early spring is probably the best time for bird watching in Maryland. Birds are active as they are building their nests, and the trees don’t have leaves yet, so you can clearly see the birds. Many homeowners who enjoy bird watching tend to put out or refill various bird feeders this time of year. However, this often inevitably attracts squirrels who may take this as an invitation to not only hang out in your yard, but also break into your attic! Allow our Maryland wildlife removal specialists give you a few tips on how to feed the birds without putting your home at risk of wildlife intrusion.

Protect Your Vents and Gutters

Before we talk about squirrels, let’s first make sure that your home is protected against the birds you are trying to attract. When you place a bird feeder, this signals to birds that it’s a steady source of food, so they may feel encouraged to build a nest nearby. This could be in a nearby tree or in your dryer vent or gutters! So before you invite the birds for a feast, make sure they are not staying for the night. If you haven’t already, have animal-proof covers installed on all vents, as well as your chimney.

Don’t Put Bird Feeder on a Tree

While this sounds like the most reasonable solution, it’s not a good idea to put a bird feeder on a tree if it has something a squirrel wood want. This makes it incredibly easy for squirrels to get to the bird seed. Instead, hang a bird feeder from a metal pole that you can install anywhere as long as it’s far away from another tall object. Keep in mind that squirrels are excellent jumpers. Take a look at this video showing how a squirrel makes a pretty amazing leap onto a bird feeder: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyomSW3PMQM

Invest in a Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeder

There are many different bird feeders out there that were invented to outsmart the squirrels. If it’s a feeder on a pole, it should have an umbrella-like cover (it’s called a baffle) to prevent squirrels from climbing all the way up. If it’s a feeder hanging in a place where squirrels may be able to jump on it, there are also a variety of mechanisms that prevent squirrels from getting the seeds. For example, this bird feeder spins, so the squirrel has no way to steady itself and grab the seeds. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5A-7g-fl3g8 Another popular squirrel-proof bird feeder model uses a spring mechanism to close the dispensing holes when a squirrel hangs on the feeder. Because a squirrel is heavier than a bird, it pulls the spring down and therefore blocks its own access to food. Clever, isn’t it?

Consider a Different Bird Attraction

If there are many squirrels in your neighborhood, they will never stop trying to raid your bird feeder. Even if these attempts are unsuccessful, squirrels will still return to try again or scavenge for seeds birds may have dropped. If that’s the case, consider using a different method to attract birds. For example, bird baths also work well, yet elicit very little interest from squirrels. And if you run into problems with either the birds or the squirrels who attempt to make a living in your attic or in your vents, give Mid-Atlantic Wildlife Control a call or contact us online for bird and squirrel removal in Maryland.

Are Birds Nesting in Your Silver Spring Dryer Vent?

Are Birds Nesting in Your Silver Spring Dryer Vent?

Every year in spring bird removal from dryer vents in Silver Spring becomes a major issue. In early March birds start building nests in and around homes, and the most common area is the dryer vent. Our Silver Spring pest control company receives over 100 calls every week from residents seeking help with bird removal from a dryer vents. In most cases the bird or birds stay in the vent duct within a few inches of the exterior opening, so the humane eviction of the bird is quick and easy. Unfortunately, not every situation is the same, especially when the vent duct is open in the wall or ceiling, allowing birds to venture out of the vent duct, and in some cases get lost or stuck between the walls.

What species of birds nest in dryer vents?

The two most common birds found nesting in dryer vents are the house sparrow and starling. A house sparrow can enter a round hole that is 1 ¼” in diameter, whether it’s a horizontal or a vertical opening that is 1 1/2” x 1”. House sparrows prefer a nesting site with a little elbow room with about 4” to 6” in diameter. Starlings can enter a hole that is 1 5/8” in diameter, however they also prefer a spacious hole and will use an opening up to 10”. Since the house sparrow and starling only use pre-existing holes, both species find a dryer vent to be most appealing because its 4” in diameter and long enough to house adults and babies.

How will I know if birds are nesting in my dryer vent?

If you live in an area that has plenty of man-made structures and a large human population like Silver Spring or Chevy Chase, then you have a higher chance of finding birds nesting in you dryer vent at some point. Silver Spring bird control experts at Mid-Atlantic Wildlife Control advise home owners to inspect the dryer vent, bathroom exhaust vent and kitchen exhaust vent once a week during the bird breeding season between late February and August. If you are not able to do the inspection, then keep a watchful eye on any birds entering or exiting the dryer vent. Often homeowners are able to hear the birds when putting clothes in the dryer. If you hear a bird that may be in the wall, mark that area to be able to locate the bird in case it dies there. The carcass will need to be removed before the odor becomes overwhelming in your home.

How will a bird removal company get birds out of my dryer vent?

Exterminators and general pest control companies specialize in insects, not wildlife such as birds, so you are better off contacting Silver Spring bird removal experts to get the job done right. The first step is to evict the adult birds from the vent, which can be done in many ways depending on whether the birds are in the vent, in the wall cavity or between floors. If the birds are in the wall or between floors, then a hole may need to be cut open to extract the birds. If the birds are nesting in the vent, then the adults are humanly evicted and baby birds are transported to wildlife rehabilitators, so that they can be raised and released at the right time. After the birds are removed from the dryer vent, the nesting materials and any debris also need to be removed. All birds carry lice, so a sanitizer is then sprayed in the vent to eliminate any lice that may be left behind. A bird-proof dryer vent cover is then installed to prevent any birds from re-entering the vent. It’s important to install the correct vent cover. Dryer vent covers should have a cleanout door so you can remove built-up lint to prevent a house fire. Over 15,000 house fires are sparked each year from lint buildup in dryer vents. If there is an excess buildup of bird droppings in the vent duct, then a new vent duct may need to be installed. Mid-Atlantic Wildlife Control will be happy to help you with bird removal in Silver Spring and surrounding areas. Just give us a call or contact online!