Saturday, June 2, 2007

Greenwich Village, May 2007

I have an interesting springtime problem. I think a bird has built a nest in my air conditioner. I have an a/c unit in a wall sleeve below my window, and every once in a while I hear something squirming and scratching around in there. (It drives Armenia crazy.) I'm not worried about it getting inside, because the a/c is well sealed, and I don't think it will damage the a/c itself. (It's not actually in the unit, but in the sleeve between the unit and the wall.)

The problem, of course, is that I can't turn on the air conditioner. For now, that's fine. In July I won't be so sure. How long does it take baby birds to grow up?

Meanwhile, I bought a fan.


  1. Are you sure it's a bird? Could be squirrels, in which case, they won't ever leave until you force them out. I hate it when it's me vs. Mother Nature. Good luck!

  2. R: I don't think it's big enough to be a squirrel. But I really do need to scope it out and be sure, don't I?

  3. Steve, that strikes me as an odd place for a bird to build a nest. I'm going with the vermin theory. Perhaps turning of the a/c will provide the nudge it needs to move on. If it can't get to the actual a/c unit, cold is the real danger, isn't it?

    With respect to you photo, I really don't like the tagging for tagging's sake.

  4. When I was 17 I lived in my Mom's attic in Cleveland. I had a regular window A/C, and a family of sparrows lay claim to the suburban American dream right on top of the unit. They scratched & banged like crazy while they were building their nest, & then their young made a racket when they hatched.

    I still used the A/C -- the birds flapped & banged around the nest for a minute every time I turned it on, but then they calmed down.

    Once when I turned on the unit, the male forced itself through a gap between the A/C and the windowsill and into my room, and flew in tight circles around me, trying to distract me from eating its young. When it got tired I cornered it & caught it. So strange -- one eye was normal, one tiny. I released it out my other window, and from then on I like to think we had a certain understanding.

  5. If it's a bird, they should fledge soon. As Jesse notes, you should be able to hear the chicks. You can contact the Audubon or Humane Society for advice.

    I'm surprised they're nesting inside the AC. They shouldn't be able to get into it. I would expect a ledge-nester, maybe between the windowsill and the bottom of the unit, where it's difficult to see.

  6. I don't think this is an uncommon problem - it has happened a few times to me, family or friends when I lived back East (hardly anyone has air conditioning here in Seattle, and if they do it's central air). Once tha babies hatch things will calm down - likely in a few weeks.

  7. Oh, yeah, and I meant to say "Once tha babies hatch" - I am tring to be ghetto. Ha!

  8. could it be a rat perhaps? chicks usually chirp a lot i think? i thought you already had a fan, or two?

  9. Thanks for all the advice, gang! I tried to look inside the a/c sleeve, but in order to do so I have to hang upside down off my fire escape, and I'm a little self-conscious because to anyone observing it would appear that I was trying to look into my downstairs neighbor's window! Anyway, I couldn't see far enough into the sleeve. There is a narrow gap, enough for a small bird like a sparrow - but probably not a bigger one, like a pigeon.

    I don't think it could be a rat. The sleeve is in a sheer brick wall, and a rat would have to climb three stories of bricks to get to it - which might be possible, but I don't think it's likely.

    Funny thing is, I don't hear it very often. Which means either a bird is in there and it's just sitting, or a bird only visits and nothing lives there at all.

    Maybe I'll get my super to help me check it out. A neighbor will be less likely to call the cops if two of us are out on the fire escape!

  10. p.s. - I'm kind of enjoying the fan, actually. :)