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Can That Bird Nest Be Removed?

By Chris Williams on April 20, 2013.
Bird nest removal services

Question

We have birds nesting in our dryer vent, too far down to see. They must have babies in there because I hear cheeping. The parent birds are brownish, they might be sparrows. Does your company do bird control? Can you get them out of there so I can use my dryer again?

Answer

Yes, we do bird control but we may not be allowed to remove those birds. It depends on what kind of birds they are. If they’re house sparrows, no problem. But if they’re some other small brown bird like Carolina wrens, we’re prohibited by federal law from removing them.

The Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act protects most native birds. The only birds that are exempt from this protection are our three main pest birds: house sparrows, starlings, and pigeons. If the birds are not sparrows, it’s illegal for anyone to kill or harass them during nesting. That means the nest cannot be removed if either eggs or young are present. In this case, you’ll have to wait until the birds have fledged or left the nest. Depending on the type of bird, that could take two weeks or more after the eggs hatch.

A dryer vent would be a likely place for house sparrows to nest. The house sparrow is an opportunist and an aggressor, forcing other birds out of its territory. It frequently nests on houses in small enclosed places like behind shutters, in window A/C units, in drainage pipes, in building rafters, and in corrugated metal siding. Sparrows can have three or four broods during the season and different females will share a nest.

If the birds are sparrows, we can remove them now, clean out the nest, and install a guard on that vent. If the birds are a protected species, we can schedule an appointment for bird-proofing after the young have fledged. You’ll want to bird-proof that vent and other areas on your home where birds can nest because they will often return to the same nest site. Birds nesting in a dryer vent can pose a serious fire hazard if the dryer is used. At Colonial, we specialize in bird-proofing of homes and commercial buildings. Give us a call.

Photo credit: msSeason / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

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