The Daily Ping

The 1st Ping was published on January 6, 2000.

April 29th, 2002

Birds in the Attic

We have critters in our attic. Birds, definitely. Squirrels, perhaps. Last year when I saw a bird actually fly into our attic from a small vent outside, I was convinced it was an accident and that it had no way to get out. I felt validated when a few months later I was up in my attic and saw a dead bird.

A couple weeks ago, I heard another critter in our attic and actually called a pest control guy to come over and get it out. But by the time he got here, the bird was no longer up there. Perhaps I was wrong — perhaps these animals were able to get in and out of the attic without any problem. The pest control guy pointed out all the different entry points that animals have into the attic — more than the solitary one that I originally thought.

This past week, though, not a day has gone by without the sound of scratching or fluttering in our attic. Now, I’m pretty sure there are animals setting up shop and that they can come and go as they please, despite the fact the bird above my head right now seems like it’s trying to peck its way out. At first I felt sorry for the animals, unable to do much about their sure death upon getting trapped in my attic (it costs several hundred dollars to have someone remove them). Then I got a little annoyed because the sounds are quite distracting. Now I’m kind of torn — if it’s a family of birds, even setting up and monitoring a humane trap wouldn’t be ideal, because any baby birds would end up starving after their mother was caught and released. Should I just let nature run its course? Should I let these birds hang out until they’re ready to leave? Or should I plunk down a few hundred dollars to get this family removed until the next family comes along?

I’d consider going up in the attic to survey the situation, but, unfortunately, our attic doesn’t have floorboards, so it’s near impossible to go further than just poking my head in the entrance (and getting my eyes pecked out by pissed off birds).

Any suggestions on dealing with animals in the attic?

Posted in Everyday Life

Joe Joe Potato March 20, 2007, 12:34 pm

Man, I have the same problem of scratching in the attic. Since I live in a two story house, I can’t see the vent from outside to see where they are coming from. I opened up the entrance to the attic but didn’t find anything. I think it’s a bird nest. I’ll probably buy a long ladder and patch any openings from the outside since I really can’t walk in the attic without any boards up there. This sucks! I think the pellet gun is a stupid idea.

R Turner April 9, 2007, 7:32 pm

I too have birds in my attic. One of the posts said something about a chemical that burns the feet of the birds. Does anyone know what its called? They were here last year. Maybe they’re like salmon they will always return to their birthplace. I gonig to replace the soffit vents. Maybe I’ll put deck screws in the screen to deter them.

julie April 11, 2007, 10:09 pm

We just moved to a house that is 5 years old. Every morning at 7am, I hear “little feet” moving around, scratching in between the and outside of bedroom. I hear sqauwking noises. So after this goes on for a while.Yesterday I was leaving my house and I pulled in front of it and saw 3 black birds go over to the vents on the side of my house that I did not think they could open, and they one by one pushed it open and went inside. it just creeps me out. Does this mean they are living in attic? Isn’t this unsanitary? How do I get rid of them?

Benjamin April 13, 2007, 7:25 pm

I seem to have this same issue that all of have, birds and squirrel…birds and squirrels. I have been looking online and I was wondering if anyone has tried the Critter -B-Gone spray stuff. It sounds pretty interesting and harmless.

Benjamin April 13, 2007, 7:28 pm

Has anyone tried critter out? Seems interesting and harmless.

bcrule April 16, 2007, 1:52 am

I haven’t really heard much and I have too eager Schnauzers who haven’t had much interest in my walk in attic but when I walked in today, I saw a big nest and heard some very young chick sounds… I don’t know. I can’t stand birds (they really creep me out) and I don’t think I can wait for them to leave the nest but I can’t smells either so that thought freaks me out also. I had mice in my walls once and that was traumatizing when all the babies came out into the house. I would also like to know if Critter B Gone works.

Don AKA Snake April 18, 2007, 8:59 pm

I have the same problim.I just put some screen over the vent.Hope it helps.Will post back in a few mounths .Good luvk all.

Laura April 24, 2007, 6:48 pm

I want to thank Bill from Chicago for his post. We had birds in our attic and Critter Control came and put in a bird valve, that allowed the birds to exit our attic but would not allow them to return. Then they came back a week later, removed the bird valve and sealed the hole. It was $180 and worth every cent.


Bruce June 27, 2007, 7:12 pm

I have these birds in my attic that make this God-awful noise and I want to get rid of them. I thought of dropping an M-80 down the chimney on the roof. The problem is, I don’t have any heavy duty fireworks. Can anyone help before I blow up my cheap rent house before I blow it up over these unwanted guests? Thanks!


Bonnie July 2, 2007, 1:22 am

I had mice in my attic this past winter and they migrated floor level to the right of my bed. There was definite scratching that started around 3am and proceeded to keep me awake for the duration of the morning. Ugh, I too live alone (and can be such a GIRL!) So I woke up for work, got the Yellow Pages and called an animal exterminator. I explained to him that when renovating my home, which I bought earlier that year, a petrified squirrel was found in the wall in the vicinity of where I heard the scratching.

As it turns out, squirrels do not make noise at night or the early morning hours when I heard the scratching. It also turns out that squirrels cannot normally get on the roof unless there is a nearby tree or means of getting on the roof to get into the attic. As a precaution, he checked my roof for any holes and trimmed a nearby branch (a really good guy!)

He said it was likely the mice were getting in at some breach, possibly through the attached garage since the door had a bit of a gap. Mice can apparently climb very well, so he set some snap traps in the attic. The next day, 3 dead mice were in the snap traps in the attic. What fun removing them!

My guy said snap traps were the most humane, and that products like De-con were not good as pets like cats and dogs can be poisoned if they eat a critter that has digested the poison. So there you have it.

Now there are birds in my dad’s attic. So I will take some of the advice I’ve seen here or if needed, will call the exterminator guy. Thanks for all the posts!

Ken July 3, 2007, 6:49 am

I can relate to your guilt about killing birds, today i was mowing the lawn and saw something small moving in the grass. I looked closer and it was a baby bird…it had been run over and cut up, but was still alive. I knew it was going to die, and it was in pain so i had to step on it. I didn’t want to, but there was nothing else to do. It was gross.

Katy July 29, 2007, 3:39 am


I was just going to bed when I heard THE loudest noises coming from the attic. It sounded like a large animal from the thuds, scratches and scurrying noises above my head-but I’m sure it’s just a trapped bird or a small non threatening animal! The guy who was blasting animals and birds with his gun sounds like a loony, THAT IS TOTALLY DISGUSTING BEHAVIOUR. If you can deter these birds or animals without blatantly killing them (and enjoying it) please do that instead. Ie put grills up etc. Don’t get me wrong,pest control is the only way sometimes, and I’m a realist as much as the next guy.
but still,I was freaked out by these noises til I googled “birds in the attic”!! So now I can sleep without having Hitchcock style nightmares or fearing that rats are gnawing through the ceiling!! Flying squirrels not that common in England! Will be up there first thing tomorrow to investigate-without a shotgun. And will let the silly bird out.

Diane February 24, 2008, 10:22 pm

I have the same problem with the noises and scratches in the walls and attic – but it also sounds like something is walking around up there. I am too afraid to go up in the attic to see what it is. If it is a squirrel, oppossum or racoon, would it try to attack me? I want to go up there to kick some hairy butts, but I don’t like the idea of something coming at me, especially a creepy little fat bat.

I tried to get my home appraiser to go up there to scare them away and to find out what is up there, but he said they do not need to go in the attic – especially when I told him the reason why I wanted him to ‘check out the value’ of the attic, lol.

I guess I’ll have to shell out $$$ to get a professional out here – they can put up those screens to keep them all out anyways.

Carol Smith May 12, 2008, 2:43 am

Birds in the attic… what a pain!!
I was patiently waiting for the baby birds to leave the nest… and when they did, the parents started another brood!! If these were songbirds it would be one thing, but they are bloody Starlings! I don’t want more of them!

So… I plugged the hole today. I am feeling bad because I know the mother and any eggs she is sitting on will die. I unplugged the hole twice throughout the day, hoping she would escape, but she won’t leave the nest. Ahh… her decision…

I think the smell (if there is any) will be better than listening to another nest full of baby birds! Seems a pretty drastic way to do things….. but I don’t know what else to do! I can’t take the noise any more!

Tabitha May 13, 2008, 10:06 pm

We are also having problems with birds in the attic. The on ly thing I didn’t read on the other comments was the threat of histoplasmosis. If the dust from the bird poop gets in to your air you can get this serious disease. Plus, it’s just unhealthy to have tons of bird poop and rotting carcases in your attic. There is also a possiblity of getting bird mites in your home and they are very hard to get rid of. Kionda like bed bugs. Anyway, we have decided to pay someone a bunch of money to fix the attic, clean it up, and replace all of the disgusting insulation that’s covered in poopy. I have kids, so better to be safe than sorry!

Levi May 16, 2008, 5:04 am

Birds in the attic here too as I am writing this at midnight. Had mice once, easy fix to put up the poison bars and glue traps, but these birds are a pain. And this site and everyone’s stories of their own problems don’t solve mine. I am hoping that my handy solution to mice will bring some good karma and will lead me to my solution.

Jim May 28, 2008, 3:22 pm

Put a hungry cat up there.

Jeff June 3, 2008, 1:27 am

I just moved into a log cabin, and have what I suspect are “pecked out holes” from some form of feathered bird, maybe a woodpecker. The holes range from 2″ to 3″ wide to about 5″ to 6″ long, and I did see a bird fly up and start to go into the big hole, but I was able to scare him off with a nice loud knock on the window which is only a few inches from the hole. The chicken wire with foam sounds like a good solution, don’t think I will have an issue with smell since I have no attic or crawl space, the bird holes access the space along my roof joists between the metal roof and the sheathing above my upstairs loft.

John Weiler June 9, 2008, 11:39 pm

HI—Help— I took someones advice that I read in hear about putting moth balls in your addict to scare of the Squirles. I only have a low additc but was able to get my head in and throw the mothballs all over the addict floor.( I think ,–as we have insulated joists but no floor. Any way it did not scare them. I finally caught them and set them free miles away in a forest. However that was the start of my real probelem—-THE SMELL OF THE MOTHBALLS–Is killing us we can hardly go to our bedroom with out chocking. And we cant get into the addic to get them out they are all over HOW DO WE KILL THE SMELL_____HELPPPPPPPPP

cletus June 22, 2008, 7:35 pm

I have a screened in patio attached to the rear of my house. It has a metal roof open at the eave.Birds enter thru the raised openings. What can I put to keep the birds put but not block air flow. Surely there is some material to fill the opening that the birds can’t pull out. Thanks!

JOHN SMITH March 19, 2009, 1:00 am

Hey, great to see so many people also have the same problem.

I don’t actually mind the birds, I like to think of it as my way of doing something for nature, by giving them a place to live.

At first the scratching noises were freaky, and recently I heard the chicks making “crying” noises, but it’s not that often so I don’t mind.

I noticed that if I play my hifi music too loud (with the subwoofer vibrating the walls) they start to complain by scratching on the ceiling and telling me to “Quieten down!” and as soon as I turn down the volume, they go back to sleep.

Weird and “Wonderful” but hey that’s life.



Shalini May 20, 2009, 9:48 pm

Great to see so many posts and solutions.

Here is what we experienced till this morning –

There are holes on the side of our roof with metal gauze in them so that birds don’t get in. Even with this we heard a bird pecking at one of the holes a few months ago and we left it thinking it was nothing. One black bird with a yellow beak after months of pecking somehow got in through one of the holes and laid eggs and had small baby birds out of those. We did not worry too much as they didn’t cause any havoc until we noticed some bad stench in one of our bedrooms, we immediately knew it was from the birds.

Last night my husband climbed into the attic to take a peek. We could not locate the baby birds as they kept silent when they heard our voices. My husband accidentally landed on the dry wall from inside the attic and fell inside one of our bedrooms as the dry wall gave way and it left a big hole in the bedroom roof. Through this hole he was able to clear out the 2 dead baby birds that had caused the stench. Then this morning the mommy bird flew out to get some food for the baby birds through the hole it had come from. Slowly the baby birds fell into our bedroom from the big hole in our bedroom and my husband was quick enough to pick them and leave them outside our house and close the hole through which the bird first entered…so it leaves us just with fixing the dry wall and closing all the holes with better wire gauze or metal…Thank God! Goodluck you all…!

hamlindp October 6, 2009, 11:06 pm

I think birds fly in the air.

help me January 7, 2010, 9:23 pm

We were hearing sounds in the attic, but they didn’t sound like animals. It sounded more like heavy things on rollers and thumping sounds. I couldn’t find a flashlight so I went up there with a lit candle which didn’t thow out much light. All of a sudden a cold breeze came out of nowhere and blew out the candle. It was very dark and I ran out of there. The next day my daughter’s bed started shaking and her bedroom is very cold- like a meat locker. Now she is cursing like a trucker and her skin has turned grey. She is also talking in a language I’ve never heard before. She is only 11 years old but can easily overpower me if I go in there. It all got worse after the sounds in the attic stopped. How do I get the sounds back?

julia May 7, 2010, 12:59 pm

i think that you should leave them alone so they can and sure enough the mama bird will evenculllaly kick them out of the nest when there ready so u should just leave them alone cause we also have 22 families of birds and were just leaving them alone even if they make alot of birds.

george harkins May 12, 2010, 2:30 pm

piggions in a sub attic how do I get rid of them.must sell the building what do we do.

Jen November 26, 2010, 9:22 am

For all of you struggling with birds in the attic, please keep in mind, they usually come in flocks and over time can not only do serious damage to your house, but to your health as well. Birds carry multiple diseases and bring on all kinds of breathing problems for many. If you’ve noticed your are wheezing or having any trouble with allergies, breathing, it’s probably the birds. Their droppings are the most dangerous so if you’ve noticed other unusual or uncharacteristic symptoms in yourself or your family, it could be a result of the birds. I am a bird lover and raised them for many years. I live in a wooded suburb of Chicago and have just discovered woodpecker holes in my siding. I’m up at 3:00 in the morning because ‘knocking’ coming from my attic woke me. I would not want to hurt these birds but if you’re getting them at this time of year, they are likely looking for a place to nest for the winter — they are not actually nesting and laying eggs. Most birds do that in the spring. That means they’re not likely to leave. My advice, hire a professional to be sure you’ve got them all out and then have a contractor seal everything up as well as you can. These birds couldn;t find a way in because my house is well sealed, so they improvised — they pecked their way in!

Lots of luck,

Kelly April 12, 2017, 12:50 pm

We get birds that build their nests in the vent every-year i am an animal lover so it doesnt bother me, but this is the first time i noticed (not that i was listening before) i actually hear a bird fluttering, are they just building the nest or could it be in distress? Please someone help answer this question

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