Monday, April 5, 2010

The Not So Beautiful Sounds of Birds

For the past few weeks I've been waking up to the sounds of birds, though not the beautiful sounds of chirping that I'm sure you're imagining.


No, these are  not the sounds of birds singing sweet songs of Springtime.

These are the sounds of birds digging at the insides of my bathroom walls to use our insulation to help make themselves a beautiful home. They are just digging away every day at the bathroom walls that Jason has worked so hard to tile.  

I keep waiting for them to dig right through the grout and poke their little heads inside my walls while I'm blow drying my hair.  Imani has an incredible fear that they are going to get in our house and we won't be able to get them out. 

I have to admit, it's sort of a creepy sound, like rats digging inside the walls or something.  It freaks me right out.   If it were happening at night, I probably wouldn't be able to fall asleep, but fortunately, it happens bright and early when I am trying fight the reality that I have to get up and go to work.

Last year, when we gutted the incredibly disgusting bathroom to begin the renovation, we ripped the walls all the way down to the studs.  Wouldn't you if your bathroom looked like this?

When we gutted it, we discovered a little nest all cozied right up with the insulation.  It was vacant at the time, so Jason removed it and proceeded on with the renovation.  Kelby told us we needed to install some sort of vent in the soffits of the dormer that is our bathroom, but we put it off, as we often do with things that aren't aesthetics within our home.  

I didn't even know what soffits were.  In case you're as clueless as I was, Wikipedia defines soffits as "the exposed undersurface of any exterior overhanging section of a roof eave.  Usually, the soffits have vents. In this picture, they are numbered "2."  


Ours are pretty beat up and need some fixing, but here is what ours look like.  You can see there is nothing covering the vent hole, so the birds have easy access to get inside.

Kelby was right . . . again.  The birds use these soffit holes as doors to their new home.   Every morning, while I am getting ready for work in my brand-spanking- new tiled bathroom, I hear them digging away at the insides of my walls.  If you follow me on Twitter, you were probably aware of this problem weeks ago. (If you don't follow me on Twitter, get with it!)

I hadn't written about it because I wanted a picture to go along with this post.  Every morning I sit in my bathroom and try to snap a picture of these birds flying in and out of the soffit holes to my house.  I kid you not; I knock on the walls and when the birds fly out, I try to snap the picture, but they are too fast for my little Coolpix camera.  Finally, I decided I would write the post without the pictures.  

So what are we to do?  We could knock on the walls and get the birds to fly out and then install the vents in the soffits, but I worry that there are eggs in there.  We couldn't live with ourselves knowing we separated babies from their mothers, or worse, that we stopped life altogether from hatching.  

There is also something wrong with having a blog about renovating and decorating a home and then forcing a creature out of its own.  So until we can get over this moral dilemma, we will continue to wake up to the sounds of birds --  digging and scratching at the walls of our home to create their own.

By the way, if you haven't done so already, head on over to the This Old House renovation contest and give our submission a favorable rating.  Thanks!



  1. OH no!! It makes it so hard when you have that kind of moral dilemma. You want to respect nature, but at the same time cringe at the thought of your hard work being damaged.

    I'm thinking positive thoughts that you'll figure out the perfect solution. Knowing your creativity and genius, I see that happening very soon!

  2. Oh my goodness. What are you going to do?? I'm sorry but I am absolutely no help here...but I am grateful to have learned what a soffit is...who is this Kelby that he would know that! Good luck with it all...could you move them into the garden and get them to scratch up the weeds..not that I'm suggesting you have weeds of course! :)

  3. Thanks for believing in our ability to solve the problem, Meg! Oh and Kerry, Kelby is our "go to guy" who knows EVERYTHING. Seriously.

    Hmm . . . move them to the garden . . . the problem is, we cannot reach the nest! It is literally embedded in our walls.

  4. Stephenie,

    Don't touch the nest. The mother will abandon it most likely if you do. I say deal with it and once they fly off (it's not 18 years - just weeks) clean out the soffits and put screening over the soffit holes.

    House Finch: ; 11-19 days until young first fly

    American Robin: ; 14-16 days until young first fly

    Nuttall's Woodpecker: ; 29 days until first flight

    American Crow:; 28-35 days until first flight

    Mourning Dove: 35-37 days until young first fly

    Anna's Hummingbird: ; 18-21 days until young first fly

    Black Phoebe: 20-21 days until young first fly

    Northern Mockingbird: 10-12 days until young first fly

    Cliff Swallow: 23 days until young first fly

    Hope this helps.


  5. Deborah,
    Thanks so much for all of the research! I appreciate it. Don't worry. . . we won't touch the nest. I don't know if I've ever mentioned that Jason will not kill any living creature (ants included), so there is no way he's going to be involved in a mother abandoning her nest.

  6. For your sake, I hope the birds leave their nest soon. I wouldn't be able to close the holes up either if I thought there were eggs or babies in there.

  7. We had the same problem. We decided to wait until the birds migrated and then cover the hole. We haven't had a problem since!


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