Starlings building a nest inside air vent

Hi, all,

I wonder if you could provide me with some advice, please. 

For the past 2 mornings, I woke up early morning by scratching and purring sounds coming from my bathroom ceiling (made of plaster board).  They were quite loud!

On further investigation (initially, I was terrified in thinking it was a rat!), I now believed to be it was one of a Starling couple that might have gone through a hole from a broken air vent (one of the flaps are missing), and it was making the scratching and purring sounds.

I say it was a Starling couple, as I saw them on the roof of my house, exactly above the broken air vent at one point. 

I also saw one of them collecting pieces of dried grass from my garden.

I assume they might be building a nest inside the bathroom (between the ceilling and the upper floor).

I only heard noises early mornings.  There are no noises throughout the day.  I assume they leave the bathroom and only come back early morning. 

I know it's an offence, under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981, to disturb the building of a nest.

However, due to the circumstances (the scratching & purring noises are getting louder due to the echo between the bathroom ceilling and the next floor, and they are waking me up), can't I simply place a duct tape over the hole of the broken air vent, when they are NOT in?

I don't think there is a fully formed nest. I don't think there are any eggs either. 

By blocking the air vent, I am stopping them from entering and stopping them from carrying on building the nest, and stopping them from waking me up early mornings. 

Any constructive advice is welcome!

Thanks in advance!

  • Hello Citizen, I feel for you having the continued noise and disturbance. You seem to know the rights regarding nesting but have really answered your own question. By blocking up the vent with duct tape your are indeed stopping them building, so breaking the law. As much as it is annoying you will have to wait until the time is right to do the repairs, once the season is finished. In the autum boxes can be cleaned out and hedges etc cut and trimmed.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • There are exceptions to this act & would be worthwhile asking the question of the powers that be!


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  • Ear plugs might help.
  • Thanks for the replies so far.

    I have the strong feeling that they are building a nest on top of the bathroom air extractor (or near it), as when I switch the air extractor fan on, I smell something "odd" (no, it's not what you're thinking....). Isn't that a potential fire hazard then? Surely, that must be an exception to the rule!

    Thanks in advance!
  • Apart from what you already have read and found out, blocking the vent of a toilet pipe is not recommended whatever, you won't allow any waste gasses to escape, which would contravene building regs!

    However, wait until the nesting and breeding season is over and you could get a mesh that will cover the vent pipe, preventing birds from entering and still allowing waste gasses to escape.

    But I stress, this must be done only when the nesting and breeding season is over.


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