You know the old saying: Birds of a feather block dryer vents together. Maybe that’s not quite how it goes, but it’s true that homeowners often discover birds in the dryer vent, making a home of their own. The telltale signs are bits of grass and debris sticking out of the exterior vent, chirping sounds, and sightings of birds coming and going from the vent opening.
Learn the techniques for removing the birds without hurting them—or your ventilation system—and you’ll be back to peacefully doing your laundry as the birds sing in the trees.
Put on some rubber gloves and grab a screwdriver, kitchen tongs, a leaf blower, and a flashlight. Here’s the process for bird removal from your vent:
Go outside and use a screwdriver to remove the vent cover (if present). Look inside.
If there’s a nest right there in the vent opening but it doesn’t have eggs or baby birds in it, you’re in luck. Remove the nest with your gloved hands and place it in a nearby tree or bush—then vacuum the vent opening, reattach the cover, and you’re done. If you see eggs or baby birds, skip to step 6. If you don’t see much at all, continue to step 3.
Go back inside and detach the dryer vent hose from the back of the dryer. Typically, this is done by pinching the prongs on the hose clamp so that it releases. If your hose clamp has screws, loosen them with a screwdriver before detaching the hose.
Shine your flashlight inside the hose to look for a nest or baby birds.
If you only see a few pieces of grass and sticks, the birds have only just begun to build their nest. In that case, you can blow a leaf blower into the inside end of the hose, which will eject the debris outside; then reattach your hose, and you’re all set. If you see an obvious nest, continue to the next step.
If there are eggs or baby birds in the nest, it’s most humane (and legal) to leave them there and hang-dry your clothes until the babies have fledged. Hatched birds take two to three weeks to leave the nest. If there’s a nest but no signs of life, remove it by reaching into the hose with kitchen tongs. Then transport the nest to a secure spot in a tree or bush—keep in mind, though, that it’s unlikely the birds will continue to use it.
When the vent hose is nest-free, repeat the leaf blower trick from step 5. Vacuum the area behind the dryer and reattach your vent hose and exterior vent cover.
If “laundry is life” and you absolutely cannot wait for an active bird nest to become inactive, you may contact a local rescue organization that has permits to move nests when necessary.
Related Topic: How Long Does a Dryer Take? Is Mine Too Slow?
It pays to protect your home from wildlife invasions. In doing so, you’ll also be protecting the wildlife! To keep birds out of your dryer vent, install an upgraded exterior exhaust cover that has “cage” wires on the bottom. All you’ll need is some caulk and a few screws, which are likely included with the exhaust cover. Additionally, stay on top of dryer system maintenance with help from an expert like Mr. Appliance. Finally, landscape your yard with help from a local landscaping professional to be a friendlier place for bird nesting. Choosing the right trees and shrubs, with more natural nesting options means fewer chances of poorly placed nests.
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