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When Birds Attack… Your Dryer

This is a cautionary tale… and a true story. 

It all started on a Wednesday this past March. I kept hearing a strange sound coming from our laundry room. Perplexed, I called Brad at work, told him about the noise, and said, “Could there be a bird in our dryer vent line that goes outside?” I’m pretty sure he brushed me off. By that evening the sound had stopped, so I figured if it was a bird, it went on its merry way.

Thursday evening I needed to do laundry. I put my first load into the dryer, set it for 60 minutes and went about my domestic business. After about 20 minutes I heard the dryer stop. I thought that was strange but then again maybe I had lost track of time. Brad was passing me on his way toward the laundry room so I asked him to check on the laundry. A few seconds later, I hear him say, “What’s that burning smell?” We tried restarting the dryer. Nothing. As you can imagine, my first thought went to that stupid bird.

A few days later our appliance man came over to figure out what happened with the dryer. Our problem? A sparrow. Decapitated and stuck in the blower of the dryer. Yep, “Jack Sparrow”, as I called him, decided to commit suicide in our dryer. Jack Sparrow managed to climb through our outside dryer vent cover (the crisscross pattern was big enough for the bird to collapse its rib cage to get in), and make its way down the vent line and into our dryer.

Our appliance man said that he does about a dozen of these bird removals a year. When he opened up the back of the dryer and declared that it was a bird, I handed him my camera and asked him to take a picture. He laughed and said that I was the first customer to ask for a photo. You betcha, appliance guy, I needed photographic evidence. Want to see the photos? You know you do. Ok, click here. Keep in mind that these images are of a mangled bird, but it’s no worse than looking at roadkill.

$125 later, Jack Sparrow had a proper burial… in our garbage can.

Our appliance man sold us a $5 pest barricade to put over our current vent cover. So, the lesson from this story is to buy a pest barricade and save yourself from a $125 sparrow removal fee. Remember, it’s getting cold outside and dryer vents are warm and toasty. Warm and toasty death traps.

How a $5 pest barricade can save you $125+!

And get this. A couple weeks after the dryer incident, I hit a bird with my car. Well, actually, it flew into the grill of my car while I was driving. I drove around with it stuck in the grill for the entire day until Brad got home from work to remove it. Was it bird revenge for Jack Sparrow? Perhaps. But I win, you lose, bird.

Have you ever had to deal with an avian suicide?
Be honest, who was curious and looked at the photos?

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  1. Oh my gosh, I can’t believe that happened to you guys! I haven’t had a bird stuck in our dryer vent, but if I hear a strange noise, now I wil know what it could be! I have never killed a bird when driving, but if you can imagine, a turkey vulture landed on the hood of my car once! LOL

  2. I ran into a bird while driving to Btown one day – the damn thing exploded all over my car and scared me half to death!! Who knew this would even be an issue? At least you have a nice dryer vent cover now. 🙂

  3. Oh my word. So gross! Thankfully this hasn’t happened to us…yuck! And I love the put a bird clip…I quote that all the time and no one gets it!

  4. Oh no! Poor birds! Poor you for having to pay after a suicide! I was going to click the pics, but I’m sick so I’m gonna pass lol

  5. WHY DID I CLICK THE LINK TO LOOK AT THE DEAD BIRD? That was gross. In a college apartment once, we used to be able to hear birds chirping in our dryer vent, but I think they were all smart enough to climb out before getting decapitated. Poor Jack. Also, I LOVE that clip–hilarious 🙂

  6. Amazingly enough I HAVE had to deal with avian suicide! Around the time I got my license, a bird flew into my windshield one time and, not knowing what to do, I turned on the windshield wipers so then the bird was freaking out having to deal with those. My sister looked over at me and said “Mother Nature just doesn’t like you today” It was crazy.

  7. I hit a mallard a couple years ago. There were three I could see were flying really low and knew they were going to hit the side of the minivan in front of me. Sure enough, the first one flew right into the window and died. The 2nd one, wondering what happened to his friend, circled back to check it out, and I hit him with my bumper. I went home and bawled for hours!!!

    I’m new to your blog and love, love, love it!

  8. Was totally curious… poor bird. Oh well, that’s life.

    And yes… a seagull hit my windshield when I was driving on the freeway a few years back. Didn’t even crack the windshield, thank goodness!

  9. I have a bird phobia. Seriously. It’s bad.

    I did not click your photo. Even though I really want to. Only because you took the time to ask the nice repair man to take it for you. But I just can’t do it.

    I am happy that you are a bird murderer though. I thank you.

  10. Ewww. Poor, sad, headless bird. Maybe that’s what he gets for trying to cheat nature and get all toasty in the house?!

  11. Oh my goodness… this is a crazy story! And so sad about the bird. Jack Sparrow. I’m glad you got it taken care of.

  12. Coincidentally, it’s March and a Wednesday,I’m hearing some thrashing around coming from my laundry room and found this blog entry while “Googling” the possibility of a bird in my dryer. It’s quiet up there now. Guess I’ll wait until my hubby gets home this evening and let him investigate. Yikes!

  13. OMG I looked at the photo… I couldn’t not do it. I just found your blog today and I LOVE IT SO MUCH!!!! You’re hilarious Chelsea. Going crazy pinning all your recipes etc. Good job girlllll! xxx Lizy

  14. Ha! After we moved into our house, I heard strange noises coming from the laundry room. At first I thought someone had broken into our house, and then we figured out it was a bird. We tried another fix at first: replacing the vent door, but it didn’t work. We now have a very similar cage over the vent opening. Glad we never ended up with a dead bird in the dryer.

  15. Yeah, same thing happened to us last year. I heard something in the laundry room and stopped the dryer (I thought maybe something was wrong with it and I didn’t want it to get worse). I called my husband and few hours later we found out that our pest barricade fell off. We managed to rescue the bird. Now we have one more duty to do: once a month my husband checks on the pest barricade to ensure it stays in place.

  16. I had the same problem this weekend. When i got home Friday I could here a noise in by the dryer. I hoped it was not a mouse. I pulled the dryer out & took the hose off. I found feathers and the dryer would not work. Did your dryer work after you took the bird out.

  17. We apparently had an avian cult commit mass suicide. Four nicely dehydrated birds. Same scenario as you described! We were running a sparrow taxidermy and didn’t even know it.

  18. I hit and killed a suicidal bird on Christmas a few years back. He was a male cardinal. Our state bird here in Kentucky. Also, i totally looked at the pictures. Curiosity got the best of me.

  19. Well investigating why my bathroom (apt) had tons of black lint everywhere. Took dryer all apart and was surprised,, not my lint.

    So I’m thinking okay, the hose must be damaged I see no holes. Decide to shorten it and look inside remaining hose attached to wall. Tons of lint and thinking this isn’t good,, why? So I stick my hand in and retrieve a hard ball. I’m thinking what is this? Screamed like a girl when I heard the crunch and lint fell off it,, a dead full grown bird. Dropped it like it was hot!

    I’m not squeamish, but was sad and grossed out after scrubbing my hands and arms.

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