There were birds freaking everywhere. Imagine that movie, The Birds, by Alfred Hitchcock.
Well, maybe not quite that bad, but this home had bird’s nests in the gutter, in the downspout part of the gutter, and in the attic. Bird invasions like this happen a lot in springtime when birds are making nests and baby birds are hatching and all of that.
What the birds do to get in the attic is to find some rotting wood on a home near the gutter. This little area is called the soffit. So they find a rotting part of the soffit and peck holes in there. They go inside the attic through these holes and make their nest. Most homes have some rotting wood, but people just don’t know about it. It’s pretty easy to tell if wood is rotting on your home because you poke your finger into the wood. If it’s really soft and mushy or if your finger pokes right through, you’ve got rotting wood. In the case of this home that had a total bird apocalypse happening, when I got on a ladder and was near the soffit, the baby birds were poking their heads through the holes in the soffit… pretty clear rotting wood indicator right there.
To fix this problem, the rotting wood needs to be fixed. Doing this requires a little work. First I had to lift up some of the shingles and find the gutter straps holding the gutter on. Once I got these out of the way, the gutter could come off. Gutters are usually one long piece that goes the length of the house and so you have to be careful not to bend the gutter when you remove it.
Once the gutter was removed, then I could properly get to the soffit and remove it (the gutter is usually attached to the soffit so it must be removed first). Taking off the rotten wood is simple enough — I just used a flat bar and pried off the wood. Once the rotten wood was pried off (oddly enough I didn’t get pecked in the head by any angry birds), I got ready to nail up the new pieces of wood.
The key here is that the new pieces of wood going in for the soffit should always be cedar. If you don’t use cedar, you’re being a frickin’ moron. Cedar is naturally resistant to insect infiltration and rot. I always prime both sides of the replacement wood to ensure that it won’t rot, and when you do it this way, it’ll keep up this function for a lifetime. I then nailed up the primed cedar wood and finished it with a coat of paint.
Once the paint dried, I put the gutter back up, got the gutter straps back into action, and that was that. Birds that were outside the home are now permanently on the outside, and birds on the inside are now permanently on the inside. In a couple days, the exterminator will go into the attic and “remove the nuisance,” is what they say.
While my boss only gave me 3 hours to do this job, it took about 5 hours to do. That’s not an overestimate to rip people off, it really just takes that long to do alone and do correctly.
Want to avoid your own bird invasion? Blue Collar Tip #2: Get on up near your home’s soffit and poke the wood with your finger to test if it’s rotten. If it is, it’s only a matter of time before the birds figure that out…
Note: This post was included in the Festival of Frugality carnival – head over and check it out!