How to Have a House

Living with and understanding a home.

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Someone’s moving in this spring.

It’s looking like spring outdoors. I’m getting calls about animals.  Mostly birds and squirrels. They are moving into peoples’ houses.


Springtime is busy outside our homes.  It’s nature’s time to nest, to build a safe place to lay eggs or have young.  Houses provide excellent shelter for animals.  They are steady and less prone to wind and storms than bushes or trees. Houses have nice corners and cubbies to build into.  Many houses are missing screen or wire over the attic vents, allowing animals easy access to a relatively warm space.  And with the convenience of simple food sources like bird feeders and pet food left outdoors, the wild animals living in or near our homes have little reason to move away.


Yet, they have to go.  Evict them now.  Birds will carry more debris into a gable vent than imaginable.  I have seen nests in gable vents that appear, from the outside to be simple and neat, only to climb in the attic to find almost a hay bale of grass, sticks and trash packed into the gable vent and filling the attic.  A full contractor trash bag of debris holding 2 or 3 little chicks. I don’t throw out baby animals or birds, so I reschedule the work for winter or recommend a humane critter removal.  Animals are even more serious.  Raccoons, squirrels and other four legged critters don’t carry in as much debris, but they rearrange the materials they find in attics.  Storage items, insulation, cardboard boxes, anything that can be shredded and nested in.  Plus the holes these animals make to get into the attic is usually big.  I can climb a ladder and flush out some birds, I just did it last week on my own house.  But flushing out a toothed rodent or raccoon is not a job for the inexperienced.


Decide your route.  But act on it now.  Most animals don’t have young yet, but will soon.  Most home owners don’t want to be a part of dispatching live young, even if it is supposed to be “humane”.  Now is the time to evict the birds and animals squatting in your house.    If you remove the nest yourself, wear a respirator and take your work clothes off outside or in the garage.  Bird and animal nests are dirty.  Gather the material in a trash bag and get it out of the house.  Have the holes and access repaired immediately. If you don’t, animals will move right back in.


This is an ongoing task.  Most homeowners enjoy having animals around the property.  They are a good sign of life.  An indication that the neighborhood is full of trees, ground cover and water.  It’s a good thing really.  But like a lot of other good things, too much can be a hassle.  Be a good neighbor, kick the animals out and help them find their own place outdoors.  Add some birdhouses to the trees and posts in your yard.  Put a bat house up if you have seen bats at dusk.  Learn to recognize nests high in the branches and trunks of your trees.  Those are likely squirrel nests or birds of prey.  Hold off on tree thinning until winter when the open nests are empty.  All of this requires a little getting in touch with nature.  Understanding the natural inclination for others to attempt to live in our houses.  Having the plan and compassion to evict them with humane timing and care.  It’s a wild world out there.  Enjoy it, but don’t let it in your house. IMG_2214