Given their location off the ground away from predators and their enclosed protection from the elements, vents are attractive places for birds to build nests. However, young birds will occasionally take a tumble into the vent exhaust pipe and get stuck because they are unable to fly out. Even adult birds have trouble escaping in such narrow spaces as their wing movements are restricted. Laundry, bathroom, and kitchen vents appeal to birds for different reasons, but the problems that arise as the result of birds living and getting trapped in these openings are similar.
Laundry rooms often have dryer vents with external exits holes poised a few feet above the ground, which makes them ideal for nesting. The warmth released from the dryer exhaust helps incubate eggs, but bird nests clog these vents and prevent dryers from functioning properly. Additionally, having flammable nesting materials in such a heated and enclosed space is a fire hazard. To save energy and keep out wildlife, use a dryer vent closure.
Bathroom vent exits are usually located near to or on the roof. The small, secluded pipes are enticing perches, but birds easily get stuck inside since bathroom vents tend to be extremely narrow. Allowing birds to congregate around these exhausts is especially dangerous because the humidity released by showers and other bathroom activities incubate the growth of histoplasmosis fungus found in bird droppings. Use a cap vent cover to keep birds and other critters out of bathroom vent pipes.
Kitchen Exhaust Vents
Kitchen exhaust vents are necessary for removing steam and foul cooking odors from the home, but the warmth created by the excess kitchen vapors compels birds to build their nests inside. Given the general location of kitchen vents in the home, baby birds that tumble inside end up trapped in wall cavities or are released into the kitchen itself, which contributes to the spread of disease. Furthermore, these exhaust vents cease to function properly when they are blocked by nests, which can lead to fires and the accumulation of unwanted odors. As with the other kinds of home vents, a cover should be used to prevent animals from entering kitchen exhaust vents.
Signs of a Bird Stuck in a Vent
When a bird gets stuck inside a vent, residents of the home are likely to hear scratching or scuttling sounds as the animal desperately tries to escape. If the bird is young, it may chirp in an attempt to get help from its mother. Sounds made from pipes located inside walls are likely to be muffled, while those made from exhaust vents are usually heard clearly. If trapped birds are not removed from vents in time, they die and begin to decompose, which spreads a foul odor throughout the home.
Prevention & Removal
The best way to safeguard vents from birds is to seal the exits with specially designed vent covers that open to let air out and close when not in use. If birds do take up residence within a vent, they should be removed immediately to prevent the obstruction of air flow and reduce the very real risk of fires. However, the process of removing birds is tricky since vents are not always easily accessible. Contacting wildlife removal specialists often becomes necessary. The experts at Critter Control have the tools and experience necessary to remove stuck birds and nests from household vents.