Raccoon outdoors on a downspout (C) Daniel FriedmanAnimal Noise Problems in Buildings
Diagnose, & Cure Animal or Pest Noise Problems in Building Interiors

  • ANIMAL NOISES in BUILDINGS - CONTENTS: Building & house noises traced to animals, rodents, other invading pests, even birds. Here is a complete catalog of sources of building noises traced to animals, both pests and invaders, with : lists of causes, cures, and detection methods for indoor noise pollution.
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about diagnosing the source and finding the cure for noises or sounds in or around buildings and their systems
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Building noise troubleshooting traced to animals, pets, rodents, birds, bats or other invaders: animal noise pest causes & cures.

These articles discuss building noise control: how to inspect, diagnose & cure noise or sound problems in homes or commercial buildings.

The cute raccoon shown above is discussed in this article.

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Animal noise and animal-caused noises in buildings, diagnosis & cure

What about animal noises heard indoors: beyond the obvious barking dogs, meowing cats, and chirping birds, other uninvited animals can be a source of noise or even more serious damage or health related problems in buildings?

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
" 'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door;
Only this, and nothing more."
- The Raven, Edgar Allen Poe 1845

  • Bats trapped in an attic or duct work can produce slapping or fluttering sounds.
Ruby Crested Golden Kinglet rescued (C) D Friedman
  • Birds as noise sources in and around buildings: cheeps, chirps, squawks, taps, thumbs, scratching, tapping, rapping, flapping, etc.
    • Crows may produce an intermittent, slower tapping sound on building roofs or other low-sloped or horizontal surfaces, sometimes we're not sure what the crow is up to, or it may be working on something to eat.
    • A fluttering or other noises in duct work or in a chimney may indicate that a bird or bat has become trapped there
    • Tapping and rapping sounds on the building exterior: look for woodpeckers signaling or even making holes in wood exterior sidings in search of insects.
    • Thuds and clunks traced to birds crashing into windows and doors : sadly, birds smashing into windows or sliding glass doors can create a sudden large thunk. We note that bird collisions with glass happen principally under certain light and reflection conditions. Special bird-collision resistant glass and plastic owls as well as solar shades can reduce this hazard.

      Tips for rescuing birds stunned by crashing into glass: The golden crowned kinglet shown above flew into glass patio doors and was stunned. If you intend to "rescue" such a bird, avoid handling it and do not bring it indoors - those steps will further traumatize the bird.

      We scooped up the kinglet without touching it (hence the cluster of snow on which it stands) and set it gently into an open box placed outdoors, giving it protection from local animals for the hour or so it took to recover and fly away. Here is a photo of the Golden-crowned Kinglet after it recovered and flew to a nearby tree. Sarah Hager Johnston, Peregrine Information Consultants, kindly identified this bird for us, explaining that:

      this is actually a Golden-crowned Kinglet, identified by the black and white stripes on either side of the golden patch. This looks like a first-year male. Its cousin the Ruby-crowned Kinglet has a tiny red bit on the top of its head, which rarely shows unless the bird is excited. [5]
    • Thumping on flat roofs: we have observed crows tapping and thumping around on flat and low slope roofs, perhaps signaling, or opening seeds and nuts
    • Woodpeckers may produce a rapid tapping sound on exterior siding or trim, possibly a clue that insects are attacking the building
  • Groundhogs are more often found digging by and nesting under buildings; we tracked noises in a barn to a ground hog family living below. Usually they were quiet. See GOPHER HOLE DAMAGE for how we got the groundhog out from under the barn.
Dead mouse (C) Daniel Friedman
  • Mice / Rats (photo above left, mouse found in suspended ceiling) can produce a scuffling or scrambling sound in attics, ceilings, walls. When trapped a mouse or rat may produce a ripping or tearing sound as it is trying to gnaw its way to freedom.

Raccoon outdoors on a downspout (C) Daniel Friedman
  • Raccoons in buildings: if you hear scrambling around in the attic or basement, or scratching and scraping sounds on the building exterior you may find that one or more raccoons has invaded the building or is climbing around on exterior downspouts.

    In a South Grand Avenue Poughkeepsie NY home two raccoons fell in love with our Christmas ornaments stored inside boxes kept the attic. At night one could hear a swat followed by a rolling sound as round ornaments were batted around the floor.

    Packing away the shiny and tinkly ornaments more deeply into trunks did not keep the raccoons from digging them out the next night.

    The solution to the raccoon out-of-season holiday fun was the discovery and closure of their entry point into the building. After that the attic was silent and the raccoons were rather mad.

  • Squirrels, chipmunks, other rodents in buildings can produce a scuffling or scrambling sound in attics, ceilings, walls. When trapped a small animal may, like the mouse example above, produce a ripping or tearing sound as it is trying to gnaw its way to freedom. A squirrel trapped inside a downspout can cause the family dog to go crazy tearing and gnawing at the downspout bottom (photo, below).

Dead mouse (C) Daniel Friedman

  • Skunks in buildings are pretty quiet, but are sometimes found nesting in or under buildings.
  • See ANIMAL or URINE ODOR SOURCE DETECTION - how to find and remove animal odors, pet urine odors, etc.
  • See Environmental hazards: allergens, EMF, lead paint, lead in water, leaks, moisture, venting, mold-contamination, MVOCs, radon, toxic gases
  • See ODORS GASES SMELLS, DIAGNOSIS & CURE - how to identify and remove all kinds of odors in buildings



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