What to Do About Birds Nesting in Chimneys

What to Do About Birds Nesting in Chimneys

Spring is in full swing in Maryland! And you’ve probably seen a bird or two near your home, picking up twigs from the ground for their new nests. But where are they taking those twigs? Knowing where your neighborhood birds are building their nests is more than a question of curiosity. You want to make sure birds don’t nest in your dryer vents, gutters or chimneys. And from our experience as a Maryland bird removal specialists, chimneys are in the top 3 of favorite places for birds to nest.

Why Birds in Chimneys Are a Problem

The obvious thing to consider is that whatever birds use to build their nests is a fire hazard. These materials can easily ignite next time you start a fire. What’s the harm of a fire in a chimney, you ask? Well, chimneys are not designed to contain fire—their job is to direct smoke out of your house. Chimney fires are dangerous because they can reach high temperatures, damage the chimney and even spread to the roof and attic. So if you think there is already a bird nest in your chimney, it’s a good idea to have the chimney cleaned by a professional before the next use. Sometimes, birds nesting in chimneys may become stuck. You can often tell a bird is stuck if it’s making constant loud noises or flapping its wings inside the chimney. One way to remove a stuck bird is to open the damper, open a window, close off the room and wait till the bird finds its way out. If it’s seriously stuck, you may need to call a professional to conduct an extraction like the below video shows: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEZThFX-ljg Another problem with birds in your chimney is the noise. The chirping and scratching starts early in the morning and continues until sundown. And since birds are at the bottom of the chimney, the noise they make can be clearly heard in the house. If the fireplace is in your bedroom, expect to be rudely awaken in the wee hours. And, lastly, don’t forget that bird droppings are extremely unsanitary and can be a source of histoplasmosis, a dangerous lung disease.

How to Keep Birds Out of the Chimney

Keeping birds out of your chimney is fairly easy. All you need is a quality chimney cap. Some older homes may be missing chimney caps entirely. And newer homes may have chimney caps that protect against larger wildlife like raccoons and squirrels. However, birds are rather small and can often get inside very small openings. And because a chimney cap has to vent, it must have some openings. You need a chimney cap that has mesh screens to protect from intruders like birds. Sometimes we find that homeowners who already have chimney caps are not aware that the cap is damaged. Just because it’s made of metal, doesn’t mean it will last forever. The cap itself could have become rusted and failed. Or the concrete chimney crown around the cap could have cracked, crumbled and created an opening. If you think you may have birds in your chimney, give Mid-Atlantic Wildlife Control a call! We will investigate the problem and install the perfect chimney cap to keep the birds away.

How to Get Help With Birds in Dryer Vents in Columbia

How to Get Help With Birds in Dryer Vents in Columbia

Every spring bird removal from dryer vents in Columbia becomes a high-demand service. Frightened Columbia residents call local exterminators and government animal control services seeking help with evicting the birds from their dryer vents, as well as removing bird droppings, lice, debris or nesting material that the birds brought into the vent. Unfortunately, the residents of Columbia find little to no help from exterminators because they specialize in bugs, not birds. And local government animal control services help mostly with domestic animals, not birds in vents. What you need is a professional Columbia wildlife removal company!

Wildlife control professionals that specialize in the humane eviction of birds from dryer vents and other vents on homes and buildings are the right people to contact. Birds of different species build their nests and lay eggs at different times of year, starting in late February and ending in early August. The two species of birds most often found nesting in dryer vents in Columbia are the starling and the house sparrow. Starlings usually only lay one round of 1 to 6 eggs per year. House sparrows can lay between 1 and 8 eggs (5 is the average) 2 to 4 (usually 3) times per year. House sparrows reproduce so quickly, that sometimes they will lay a new round of eggs before the last round of babies leaves the nest. Since the house sparrow uses the same nest up to 6 times, that would be an average of about 15 baby birds born and raised in your dryer vent per year. And if the house sparrow decides to rebuild in the same area, then there could be many, many more baby birds in the future years. Columbia bird control professionals like Mid-Atlantic Wildlife Control offer full-service humane bird removal and bird control that works year after year. The first step is to evict the adult birds from the vent and then removal any babies (all baby birds are transported to local wildlife rehabilitators who will raise them until they are old enough to survive on their own). After the birds are out of the vent, all bird droppings and nesting materials must be removed. The vent should then be inspected for lice. The final step is to install a bird-proof vent cover to prevent any birds from nesting there in the future. This is the approach we take, and if you like it, feel free to give us a call for bird removal in Columbia!

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.

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!