Scratching in loft void

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jonny2510
jonny2510 Posts: 671 Forumite
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We've noticed a scratching sound in the loft void above our bathroom over the last 3-4 days.

It seems to be happening around 7 in the morning (not sure about earlier) throughout the day and still happening at around 10 pm at night (not sure if it continues later).

The scratching sounds always seem to be coming from the corner of the ceiling (two outside walls on either side - with a gutter going along one of them). There's no plodding/movement sounds, just scratching.

If I bang the ceiling (it's only around 6" 6' high where the noise is coming from) where the sound is coming from, it stops for a few seconds, then starts again. No chirping sounds have been heard.

Unfortunately, the void isn't accessible from anywhere (as the bathroom elevation was *I think* an extension to the original house). I think the only way to have a look would be from the outside (i.e climbing up a ladder to the first floor and lifting roof tiles off I assume).

Where the noise is coming from, the roof is slanted (as is the ceiling on the inside) so I'm not sure how much room there is for whatever it is between the roof tiles and plasterboard ceiling - I'm assuming it can't be much.

We have a lot of birds around the back garden (sparrows, wood pigeons, pigeons etc, blackbirds). In addition a small (field???) mouse was seen yesterday when we were talking to our neighbour, running up the bird table taking a few nuts.

With all the above, what are peoples thoughts, recommendations?

If it's just birds, would the following statements be correct:
  • they'll be gone in around 2 weeks?
  • they *shouldn't* do any damage?
  • I should then look to block up the hole once they have gone?
Alternatives I suppose could be mice, rats or squirrels I suppose (though I haven't heard any movement) or worse some worrying wood boring insect that is currently munching its way through my roof :think: eek!

Do I need to act on this? Could something be doing damage?

p.s. the noise, or thoughts of birds living above the background doesn't bother me at all. Unless there'll can be damage to the house itself that is!

EDIT: Could an admin correct the title? I seem to have lost the ability to spell!
EDIT2: Sorted!

Comments

  • marleyboy
    marleyboy Posts: 16,698 Forumite
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    It could be Bats ;) although it does sound like birds, have you noticed any birds flying to n from the roof?
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  • WestonDave
    WestonDave Posts: 5,154 Forumite
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    We've got sparrows and swifts using the soffits for nesting and you don't hear chirping from inside although you can occasionally hear a scratching. I'd imagine birds are your most likely option but I'd expect to see them coming and going - ours land on the guttering and then slide under the bottom row of roof tiles.

    I'm fairly sure birds won't do much damage - check the rspb website for more info - they have a whole section on nests in roof areas. Some nests and nest sites are protected so you need to try and identify what it is before you take any action because you might end up firstly breaking the law and secondly removing a nest site from an endangered species like swifts.
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  • KeithP
    KeithP Posts: 37,941 Forumite
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    jonny2510 wrote: »
    EDIT: Could an admin correct the title? I seem to have lost the ability to spell!
    You can change the title yourself.
    Click the 'edit' button.
    Then click on 'Go Advanced'
    Then adjust the title as much as you like.
    Click 'save changes'.
    Job done.
    :beer:
  • rosalie-lavender
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    It could be birds. We have had both birds and mice in our roof and with the mice the sound was more of a scurrying sound as they moved accross the roofspace. The bird sound was more localised near the eaves.

    Don't just look at the roof, keep an eye on the outside house walls as well. Our problem turned out to be bluetits. We had changed a toilet and the hole that the overlow left in the wall had never been blocked up. The birds were flying into the hole and up the cavity wall to the roofspace.
  • lesley1960
    lesley1960 Posts: 976 Forumite
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    Or rats , they make a hell of a noise . A Friend of mine had squirrels in her loft
  • david39
    david39 Posts: 1,968 Forumite
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    If it is birds, the problem will go shortly after the chicks have left the nest. If it persists and you do not want to physically tackle the job of crawling up a ladder and lifting roof tiles, maybe you could try one of the electronic pest repellents which are quite cheap now and will rid your house of insect pests as well.

    We got rid of mice that way which were entering our kitchen each night to rummage for cereal and dog food.

    If it is in the space above the bathroom, you will need to be mindful of the problems of bathrooms and electrical equipment.
  • jackieb
    jackieb Posts: 27,605 Forumite
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    We had thrushes nesting in our soffits. They couldn't get into the loft though. We couldn't hear chirping either, but could have sworn it was a family of woodpeckers living in there sometimes!

    My husband went into the loft a few weeks ago. The previous owners must have had problems with birds getting in where a central heating pipe went through the roof. They closed the gap, but obviously didn't think about how the birds would get out after they'd blocked the hole. My husband removed 5 mummified birds from up there. :(
  • jonny2510
    jonny2510 Posts: 671 Forumite
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    WestonDave wrote: »
    Some nests and nest sites are protected so you need to try and identify what it is before you take any action because you might end up firstly breaking the law and secondly removing a nest site from an endangered species like swifts.

    Infact from reading of the RSPB site yesterday (before posting) it states it's illegal to remove any nest. In exceptional circumstances (i.e. if a nest has appeared whilst having the roof replaced, and the roof needs to go back on) you can create a home made alternative (out of an ice cream carton) and put it as close to the original nest as possible (after replacing the roof)
    KeithP wrote: »
    You can change the title yourself.
    Click the 'edit' button.
    Then click on 'Go Advanced'
    Then adjust the title as much as you like.
    Click 'save changes'.
    Job done.
    :beer:

    Doh! thanks for that. I did click edit as soon as I noticed, but must have missed the advanced button. :beer:
    The bird sound was more localised near the eaves.

    It's defo a localised sound near the eaves. Fingers crossed it's birds. I'll try to get outside to see if I can see anything flying in and out.

    How often do the parents fly in and out?

    Thanks for all the replies everyone :)
  • jackieb
    jackieb Posts: 27,605 Forumite
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    We had twigs hanging out of our eaves - and a hole! Can you see any signs like these? We're going to have to get ours repaired once we're sure they're out of the nest.
  • Jojo_the_Tightfisted
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    Bird poo on the ground up to about 10 foot away in repeated applications is a good clue too.
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