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How to remove birds from a vent?

Roof Vent ProcessA sparrow nest inside a roof vent

Starlings build extremely messy nests comprised of dried leaves, grass and twigs. When disturbed, these nests produce large amounts of airborne dust and debris that are easily inhaled. When mixed with droppings, this can result in a very unhealthy situation. Starlings are also carriers of bird mites, a parasite that feeds on the blood of birds. Densely packed nests present an ideal environment for mites to thrive. When removing a nest, mites will scatter and attach themselves to humans. For these reasons, personal protective equipment should always be worn when dealing with starlings.

 

WERC 121Removing a sparrow nest from a soffit

Great care should always be taken when removing a family of starlings from a vent. For protection from predators, starlings general select nesting sites that are above 7 feet in height. This means that accessing the nest and removing the babies requires working from a ladder.  Skedaddle’s technicians are trained in ladder safety to prevent any falls or injuries. We can safely reach any height to help you solve your bird problem.

Once you have reached the outside vent cover, you will need to gain access to the pipe in behind. Always be careful when approaching a starling nest as they will often dart out from the vent unexpectedly, potentially causing you to lose your grip or balance on the ladder. In most cases, access is most easily provided by removing the vent cover entirely. Plastic vent covers easily become brittle from UV exposure. In most instances the vent cover cannot be removed without damage and a replacement must be installed afterward.

Bird in Wall Vent ProcessBaby birds inside a fan vent

Adult starlings will often exit a vent system under their own power with a bit of noise and probing. Once the adults are out, it is important to determine if there are babies inside the vent. Baby starlings do not leave the nest for several weeks after birth and are reliant on their parents for food and nourishment. Babies can only be removed through hands-on techniques. It is critical that all birds are removed before securing the vent cover. Birds locked inside your vent will die, resulting in bad odour, maggots and flies.


Determining the presence of babies can be difficult as your ability to see and hear will be reduced by nesting material. Special tools and equipment are often required to access the nest and any babies inside. Every bathroom, kitchen and dryer vent system is different depending on the home’s layout and construction. The length and shape of the vent system can vary significantly from house to house. In some cases the distance between the bathroom fan and the exhaust on the exterior of the home can measure more than 20 feet in length and include multiple bends and angles. Others are far simpler. Materials can also differ; duct tubes can be made from either solid aluminum or flexible accordion-like plastic. A family of starlings can easily damage and break through plastic vent tubes allowing them accessing into your attic or walls and complicating matters considerably.

Starling MidflightBaby starlings are placed in a protective container so that their parents can continue to feed them

Skedaddle employs hands-on techniques to humanely remove the nest and the babies inside. Once the babies have been retrieved, they are placed inside a protective container with some of the nesting material we have collected from the vent. Our technicians then secure that container to the exterior of your home nearest opening. This allows the starling parents to easily locate their babies and continue to feed them until they are ready to fly on their own. To prevent future re-entry, our technicians secure the vent cover with a heavy gauge screening that keeps birds out but also allows the vent to function as it should.

Dealing with birds is messy business. Skedaddle suggests you leave the starlings to us. Call us to find out how we can remove starlings from your stove, bathroom or dryer vent! 1-888-592-0387

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