The most unholy stink began permeating our half bath about two weeks ago.

I thought maybe it was garbage gone wrong or worse, a toilet gone wrong.

Cody figured out it was bird nests in the vent which, ew.

It was a sort of rotten farm smell, only today it got worse.

Way worse.

Cody is really good at a lot of things, but getting things done around the house isn’t really one of them. (I’ve always said it’s a good thing he’s an attorney so we can pay someone else to do the things he can’t/won’t. He’ll argue with me on this sometimes, but after today? There will be no arguing.) I climbed a ladder to see if I could get the nest out of the vent myself. When a bird came flying out at my face that plan quickly changed.

I called several local pest control agencies only to be hung up on as soon as I said ‘birds.’ Apparently birds and their diseases are not something any old pest agency will tackle, add in the fact that certain birds (sparrows included, which, what?) are protected by Indiana state law and a pest control agency could lose their license if they kill or injure one.

Two guys came with flashlights and nerves of steel to chase out the birds and get rid of the nests.

Y’all? It was nasty. (And apparently if birds fall under the subcategory ofย  ‘nuisance’ they can be handled in any way deemed necessary. Had you smelled my downstairs you would have been all “Nuisance? Try NASTY.”)

The good news? The nests are gone and my house no longer smells of a rotten barnyard. (There were two dead birds along with three nests in the vent. THERE WERE FLEAS IN THERE TOO.)

Bad news? Apparently there was still one bird alive in the vent and it found some Houdini way of getting out of the vent and INTO MY WALL. Every once in awhile it (they?) will flap and skitter about in the wall causing the cats to lose their minds. Sometimes it (they?) even let out primal bird screams which is terribly disconcerting and the stuff nightmares are made of. No one realized the bird was even in there until the vent was sealed up and everything seemed back to normal.

So now our options are this:

A) Let the bird(s) live out its life in a wall and hope it ends quickly and painlessly. Upside? Free. Downside? Guilt and possible odor.

B) Cut out a section of wall where we *think* the bird is, which means it (they) would fly into our house and 1. Fleas 2. Bird diseases 3. Hole in the wall.

Our attic was full of dead birds when we moved in, I think cleaned out at least eight last winter.

We also had carpenter ants when we moved in.

In the midst of everything today I heard a knock at my back window. A man, totally unrelated to birdpocalypse said, “Ma’am? I’m going to need you to close your screen door and stay inside. This long grass back here is a snake hazard and I’m going to be mowing it down, I’d hate for one of them to get into your home as they escape.”


Which leads me to option C.

C) Cut out a little hole in the wall, release dislocated snakes into the wall and see what happens.

In the words of Mary, “I’ll take hidden joys of home ownership for 400, Alex.” and at least it wasn’t car rats.

Homeowners, heed my advice: BIRD AND RODENT VENT COVERS.

Best money you’ll spend this year.



  1. SNAKE HAZARDS?!?! CAR RATS?!?!?! Do not like.

  2. I love birds and all, but I love them OUTSIDE my house. When we were in temporary housing last winter, we had a problem with birds nesting in the vents. Mike accidentally sucked one up into the dryer fan … and not a sparrow, either, but a big ol’ nasty black bird. Apparently my husband isn’t much for those kind of jobs, either, as it was Elena and I trying to remove a bird carcass from our dryer with BBQ tongs. I totally should’ve hired somebody …

    But OMG car rats. I would never drive again.

  3. Sarah W. says:

    If it helps you at all- I climbed out of my shower to have something touch my face- i flinched and it was a spider dangling from my bath vent…. IT HAD FREAKING BIT ME!!! i now have a massive spider bite on my cheek. oh and now im afraid to use the bathroom. AWESOME!
    Keep on, Keeping on.

  4. Back in 2007, I started noticing the stink of a million stinky things coming from under my bathroom sink. Turns out an opossum had crawled under our trailer and up into the space between the floor and my bathroom vanity and DIED. My brother-in-law removed it. But apparently it was so bad that it fell apart during the removal process and just… ick. So be glad you’ve got someone to hire to do that kind of thing? haha.

  5. Vomit, vomit, vomit VOMIT. Since you don’t live that many miles from me, this strikes terror INTO MY SOUL. I hate birds and their scary, smelly, disgusting selves. Flying rats, they are.

    I’ve got my dryer vent covered. Now I’m wondering if there are other vents I should be worried about. There are covers on my bathroom vents but now they feel kinda dinky.

    You poor thing. I had a dead mouse in my wall once that was stinky. Gag.

  6. In my college apartment (which was a granny cottage behind a huge historic house), oh the animal horrors! There were squirrels in the attic and what I hope was a squirrel that liked to invade under my sink. I would hear it scamper around and I would bang the door to tell it to go away. The funny thing is I could never figure out where it was coming from, or I would have fixed the problem! So creepy! And there’s nothing quite like hearing scampering in your attic when you live alone. Your imagination gets active and imagines zombies up in the attic instead of squirrels. I lived there for 2 years. Sigh.

  7. Bethany says:

    We are graced with scorpions down south. Everytime anyone digs or builds they come from underground and somehow get inside the house. My brother got stung on the shoulder when one dropped down from the vent in the middle of the night!

  8. The last people to live in our house has insulation blown into the attic, which, if you don’t know, they do by drilling holes into the side of the house. Holes they are supposed to then cover. Holes which they did NOT cover. And then, two years ago, some birds decided to build a nest by the holes and now they live in the attic and possibly in the walls and I live in constant fear that they are going to peck through the ceiling and eat my soul. This year, as soon as it gets cold, we are going to cover the holes and knock down the nest and hold an exorcism because OH MY GOSH, DIE BIRDS DIE.

    Not that I have strong feelings about it. Obviously.

  9. Makes me think of an old episode of a show called Studio 60. In the episode I am referring to, a poisonous snake ends up under the floor of a sound stage. They send a ferret in after a snake. And when neither of those emerge, they send a coyote in. Then the humane society happens upon the mess. To avoid fines and jail time, they have to rip up the sound stage floor. Which causes the producer to shout “I’m gonna cook ’em and I’m gonna eat ’em!”

    Hope your day gets better, Casey!

    Chris Reply:


    Oh my, I was just watching that on DVD last night. I love that show (and everything else Aaron Sorkin has ever done) Too funny….

  10. You forgot option D – Move. I need a shower after that story. Counting my blessings that my house only seems to attract small spiders and ladybugs.

  11. Oh shudder. Yeah, those hidden joys of homeownership are so awesome aren’t they??? ๐Ÿ˜›
    I sometimes count the things I “wish I’d known” when we moved in. The trains? I knew about and have learned to ignore. The ants? Everywhere from April to October… and when I find them crawling on my babies? AAARRRGGGHHH!!!
    Also, the fact that the mail is not delivered in our area is a royal pain in my rear. We get a free PO Box, but any time something is shipping UPS or Fed Ex they need your physical address… which they cross reference with the USPS system. And since we’re not in the USPS system… yeah, you can see where this is going. And unfortunately since we don’t really live near a big city I order a lot of stuff online. Ugh.
    But I think that kind of pales in comparison to live birds in my wall…
    Best wishes!

    Chris Reply:

    @Krista, Ants- you will laugh at me, but a coworker told me to put out cornmeal..and it WORKS! It’s messy at first because you need to put it everywhere the ants are, but they take it, they eat it and they die. They also take it back to the colony and those who eat it there die. I now (a week later) have it only on the shelf in my pantry with the sugar and other goodies that the ants love. And I have no ants. Yes, my one shelf looks sloppy. But I have no ants and no poison that makes me gag and cough and my eyes water and wonder what I’m doing to my beloved pets. I made sure to leave it in the cracks along the baseboards and windowsills and vacuum up the visible part after a day or two (when I wasn’t still finding live ants). Problem solved. I’m totally sold on her method now, strange as it sounds. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Krista Reply:

    @Chris, I won’t laugh at you, but the thing is we don’t have an ant problem, we have an ants problem. We live on old orchard land and literally our entire property is ants anywhere you turn up ground. So I’m not sure there’s enough cornmeal to take care of that problem! We do put down a chrysanthemum based spray around our foundation that keeps them down in the house, but mainly we just have to keep our kitchen really clean and our food all in sealed containers. And we just live with it. ๐Ÿ˜›

  12. After reading your post I itch all over and feel a huge urge to shower. It’s my go-to response when someone mentions vermin, horrific pest problems, or parasites.
    May the force be with you.

  13. I was fine with your post until I read the word snake. option 3, you just move : )

  14. I’ll take your birds over my snakes any day, and they aren’t even inside.
    I wrote about my poisonous snake encounter earlier this week.
    It was….unpleasant.

  15. Chrysta says:

    Last year. Baby birds in the vent over the toilet in the master bathroom. VERY LOUD BABY BIRDS WHO WERE HUNGRIEST AND THEREFORE LOUDEST BETWEEN 4 AND 6 AM. Ruined my dreams of sleeping in. Ugh.

  16. You have literally described my nightmares. Birds freak the hell out of me. And in Chicago they seem to come right at you. I’m always ducking awkwardly walking down the street.

  17. Seriously though, at least it wasn’t car rats.

  18. Very rarely do I post a link to my own blog in a comments section, but on the topic of birds in vents I make an exception:

  19. Amy in StL says:

    My uncle had baby raccoons in the wall of his condo. They cut holes in the wall to find them. Dear Lord: Let me never be faced with this. I’m too softhearted AND I have plaster and lath walls.


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