I was dispatched to a residence in Marlboro after a customer had contacted Cowleys after noticing some ”hay" sticking out of one of his air vents in the soffit. Considering that the homeowner had no horses on his property to feed, something was clearly amiss. Upon arrival, I discussed the situation with the customer to gain some more insight into the problem based on what he saw and heard. It was pretty clear to me that there was a wildlife infestation, and with straw nesting material sticking out of the vent slots, I was certain that birds were the culprit. I suited up and headed into the attic with my trusty flashlight in hand. I immediately encountered a bird nest. But this was no ordinary bird nest. It was a monster of a bird nest, a good 8 feet long and 4 feet high. Based on the nest size, birds had been nesting in this home for years.
Birds nesting in vents is a common problem here in New Jersey, and for that matter, everywhere up and down the eastern seaboard. Birds will start attempting to get into vents in the later part of March. Their length of stay depends on the mother bird’s nesting cycle. But if the bird lays another clutch of eggs, the cycle starts all over again, and birds can be living there for months. With this Marlboro home, birds kept visiting the same nesting spot year after year, adding to the nesting material until they created a monster-sized nest.
Some of the more common vents used by birds are kitchen vents, higher-up bathroom vents, dryer vents, and the lower ground level vents used to exhaust gas furnaces and other appliances. Often, homeowners will often hear scratching noises caused by the mother bird walking around inside a vent pipe. Its long sharp claws designed for gripping tree limbs and grasping objects will make a racket when hitting metal pipe vents. Besides the noise from the mother bird going back and forth feeding her chicks, another problem with bird infestations are insects. Birds are often carriers of lice, mites, and ticks. When a bird has access to your home’s vents, these insects can easily access your living areas. Also, the birds’ nesting materials can completely clog a vent blocking airflow. Needless to say, this can be a problem with gas or other exhaust vents. Finally, bird droppings are toxic, containing many pathogens that become airborne when the droppings dry out. Breathing in these toxic spores can cause a host of respiratory fungal infections, including histoplasmosis.
The removal of this mammoth-sized nest that had formed inside this Marlboro home was no easy task. The Cowleys Bird Solutions crew had to wear full HEPA suits, goggles, gloves, and respirators to protect them from the multitude of diseases that are easily transmitted bird droppings. The nest was far to big to remove in one fell swoop. We had to break it apart, bag it, and remove it from the attic piece by piece. Next, the attic was thoroughly cleaned, sanitized, deodorized, and treated for bird mites so that the attic was no longer a health hazard for the family. Finally, with the attic clean and free of all bird debris, the Cowleys crew sealed the entry areas to prevent the birds from returning.
At the end of the day, the homeowner was grateful that we could resolve the bird infestation so quickly and remove their droppings and nesting materials from his home. With a wildlife infestation, it’s easy to feel like your home is no longer yours. The goal of the wildlife technicians at Cowleys is to safely and humanely evict the invading animals from your home, and by doing so, add another homeowner to our ever-growing list of satisfied customers.