You wake up on a Saturday, make yourself some coffee and a bagel, open up the newspaper and start reading. Suddenly, you hear the dreaded beeping of your phone. It is the tenant at your rental property complaining about bird poop all around the front porch and backyard. A bird family has set up nest inside the dryer vent. Your tenants can’t use the microwave oven or the vent fan for fear of hurting the little hatchlings. You decide to call bird control to remove the nest. But one thing weighs on your mind - you really don’t want to hurt the birds or their babies. Maybe they will just fly away in a few weeks?

This is an all too common scenario in many parts of Seattle and the Greater Northwest. Migratory birds (robins, tree swallows, tanagers, etc.) nest during late winter and early spring. With loss of habitat, and low winter temperatures, birds have begun nesting inside the warmer confines of household dryer vents. This keeps them safe from the extreme climate and allows them to prepare for the arrival of their hatchlings.  

While it is easy to fall in love with the notion of sharing your home with other harmless living beings (in some eastern cultures, a bird building it’s nest in/around your home is considered a good omen), there are numerous downsides to letting this happen as well. The obvious ones are visible bird droppings (aka bird-poop), and loud noises. Newborn birds often die and are abandoned in the vents causing serious odor problems throughout the house. Even worse, these nests can become extremely dirty and be a haven for lice and bacteria.

The best solution for this problem is prevention. You can get a bird guard installed on your dryer vents. These are widely available on Amazon or any home department store like Home Depot or Lowes. Bird guards cover dryer vents and prevent mother birds from nesting in dangerous environments.

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If you are unable to install it yourself, then ask your handyman or maintenance provider to install it for you. October and November are the best times to be proactive about installation so that you don’t have to clean up after the birds have already set up nest, or even worse, after the hatchlings are born. This allows the  mother bird find a nest in a tree or somewhere else where they won’t be disturbed.