On the outside of my house I have at least one bird living in an air vent. I would rather that they lived somewhere else. I was thinking I could put some sort of netting over the vent when the bird does not seem to be around. My wife is concerned that there could be a bird's nest with eggs in there and does not want to leave the eggs to die. What is the best way to safely remove these birds without hurting them?

  • Shove a cat into your air vent. – Matthew Oct 9 '12 at 16:06

Go rent a shopvac, and gently suck them up. Then when you return the shopvac, they will safely place the birds outside of the business for no additional charge (as long as you don't tell them about it.)

Just kidding, if they have eggs right now then you will just have to wait. If they don't then there is a plethora of things you can do. The netting is fine, or remove the nest while it is away.

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    Ha, you had me for a second. – Hemm May 11 '11 at 19:50
  • If you remove the nest, make sure you put up the netting right away. If you don't you may find the bird has built a new nest, and you will have to remove that one as well. If there are eggs in the nest, wait until they leave (at the end of the season) before taking any action. – Tester101 May 11 '11 at 20:31
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    You may also want to determine the species, as some birds are protected and removing their nest could come with a fine. – Tester101 May 11 '11 at 20:33
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    I ended up installing a bird guard over the air vent. All is well after a year with the bird guard. The tenants have successfully been evicted. – BennyMcBenBen Oct 29 '12 at 0:24

Many people have been taught that leaving a human scent on nests and eggs will lead to abandonment. But, as noted by Doresoom, the issue of leaving a scent on eggs is not a problem.

The problem is that physically disturbing the nest can lead to abandonment. Some say this varies with species and how far along in development the young are. Moving the nest to a completely new location might be too risky. It might be possible to move it slightly, but is best to avoid it if possible.

I'm with Tatton and just waiting it out. It adds some extra character to the house for a season, and the old nest makes for a cool souvenir.

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    The human scent/abandonment business is an old wives' tail. Physically moving the eggs can alarm the mother birds if they notice the change. – Doresoom May 11 '11 at 19:57

hang up an artificial owl out there and no birds will come around.

  • The owl should be moved occasionally so as not to get the target birds complacent after seeing it in the same spot. – ojait Oct 25 '15 at 21:31

If the vent is high, take a ladder, unscrew the screws and take the nest out gently. If you think it's too dangerous, call an exterminator and ask him to do the job. Or if you have someone in your family that could do it, ask them.


Here is a video that shows and explains how to not only remove the birds but also how to prevent them from renesting in the future.


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    Tarryn, welcome to the site. Please take some time to describe an outline of what the video covers. That way if the owner removes it from YouTube, your answer will still have value. – Doresoom May 5 '15 at 16:16

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