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Nesting birds are preventing some people from being able to use their A/C units

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

It is hot in the U.S. right now. Temperatures are projected to reach about 120 degrees in California and in Nevada. So this Fourth of July, Americans are looking to cool down. And while some are taking to swimming pools, others are using window air conditioning units to beat the heat. Over 7 million AC units are sold every year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. But what happens if you can't use your AC during this unprecedented heat wave?

SCOTT WEATHERS: I remember I was reading or something and heard a bird.

CHANG: That's Scott Weathers. He's a 30-year-old D.C. resident who works in the House of Representatives. He realized he had a bird problem.

WEATHERS: There's a gap between the AC unit and the window that isn't covered, and a bird had just arrived in that little space and was starting to make some noise.

CHANG: Now, he didn't want the bird to get into his apartment, so he removed the unit, closed the window and went on vacation. But when he got back, he realized mama bird had been hard at work building a nest and laying eggs.

WEATHERS: So at that point, I knew, OK, I can't really move the window or put the AC unit in or anything like that.

CHANG: And without that unit...

WEATHERS: It was pretty toasty in my apartment but decided that - she had laid her eggs, and it wasn't up to me to move her.

CHANG: Aw. Weathers was willing to make this sacrifice for his feathered friends. But that doesn't necessarily mean that you have to.

CATHERINE QUAYLE: You definitely want to move the nest before they can lay the eggs, and it's perfectly fine to do that.

CHANG: That's Wild Bird Fund communications director Catherine Quayle - yes, just like the bird. She says, it gets more complicated once a bird has laid its eggs. But if it's a bird that is not federally protected...

QUAYLE: It's actually OK to remove the eggs because you are looking at seven weeks of that nest being active on top of your air conditioner.

CHANG: Just be sure to move them somewhere safe. Now, if the bird is federally protected, moving the nest yourself could be illegal, so Quayle suggests calling a wildlife rehabilitator instead. As for Scott Weathers, his little bird friend and her babies...

WEATHERS: She seemed pretty happy where she was.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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Jordan-Marie Smith
Jordan-Marie Smith is a producer with NPR's All Things Considered.
Linnea E. Anderson
[Copyright 2024 NPR]