Whirly Birds in Your Gutters?

If you have a maple tree in or near your yard, you know about whirly birds, or helicopters. Whirly birds are technically called samaras. Each one contains a seed and a wing that allows it to spiral downwards and plant itself in the soil.

Single winged seed or samara of a silver or swamp maple (Acer saccharinum) isolated against a white background

The seeds of many varieties of maple tree mature and fall or blow off trees in late spring or early summer. They rain down from this time of year, filling your yard, deck and garden beds with the distinctive seed pods.

Maple Trees GutterYou may not have considered this but there is a good chance they have also filled your gutters. The pesky seeds can collect in gutters and prevent rain from properly flowing through the gutters. Instead the rain can spill over the sides of the gutters, damaging the siding and window frames on your home.

If the samaras aren’t cleared from the gutters, they can become waterlogged with rain water. And as crazy as it sounds, they can actually sprout a tree in your gutter. Water soaked whirly birds or trees become heavy and the weight can cause the gutters to pull away from the house, damaging your house or the gutters.

Now is a good time to clean the samaras from your gutters. Wait until they are dry and use your hands to remove the clumps. You can use a hose to flush out any that are remaining to ensure your gutters are clean and ready for spring and summer storms.