Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Bird chirping noise inside van

I have had a “bird chirping noise” inside my van for a week. I have left all the doors open for several hours in my driveway and searched the entire car inside. I began to think I was going crazy. It doesn’t happen at a certain time like accelerating, braking, etc. It will chirp when it is in my garage and I open the door, on the highway, really at anytime. I took my 77 year old Korean friend to the store - and SHE HEARD IT! Yesterday, my 86 year old, hard of hearing father was down, and again, while the car was just sitting in the garage, it also began chirping. We both looked AGAIN everywhere with a flashlight and could not find it. If it was a bird - I think it would have died in a week inside my van. My dad thought maybe it was a “lizard of some type”. I live in IL and can’t recall ever seeing a lizard. It is seriously driving me crazy. Any ideas? Thanks!

Do lizards “chirp”?

In any event, it would be helpful for us if you would give us more information, including…
…make, model, and model year of this van…
…how long you have owned it…
…whether it has any aftermarket electronic equipment–such as a non-stock audio system, remote start system, or alarm system.

Cricket or tree frog maybe.

I had a bird chirping problem but only when I drove faster than 50 MPH. It turned out that the sunroof mechanism needed lubrication.

My point is that this may be a mechanical or electronic noise.

If the car is not moving and the engine is off, that tends to rule out mechanical. I’d try removing the battery ground connection, which would rule out electrical or electronic.

Does it chirp when the engine is off and the vehicle sitting?
Tensioner pulleys will chirp like that, but they follow the engine speed and stop when the engine is off.

Having said that, I parked next to a large contractor pickup at the hardware store last week and noticed birds flying in and out from his engine compartment… lots of them. Later, at home, I opened my own hood to check my oil and found a small pile of bird feed. So you never know. It’s a true story, by the way.

Good luck. If its a bird and it dies it’s going to smell awful.

Just wondering though, could it be an electronic device inside the car with the battery getting low? Security system activated? I guess I’d really have to hear the chirp.

Thanks guys! It is a 2002 Honda Odyssey Van. I have owned it for 9 years and it does not have anything aftermarket on it. It does chirp when the engine is off and the vehicle is sitting. It will chirp at speeds of 30, 50, 70, 80 - and, I agree, I told my dad I did not know that lizards chirped. :wink:

I still like the idea of . . some electronic item in there, Dropped, left behind, lost, etc. A van like that has lots of hiding places.

Yes, someone’s cell phone/ipod that is due for a charge?

You have to replicate the situations that cause the chirp, ideally while in the garage and the car not running to track it down.

In our house, this is the cause when one of the fire alarms is low on battery. We have quite a few of them very close to each other.

galant: yeah, but that is a beep. I remember spending a lot of time one night at 3AM trying to find the one that was beeping. Turns out it was in the attic.

If it chirps with the engine off and even after not being driven for overnight, the two guesses I’d make

  • cricket
  • sticking vent door

Of those, the cricket is the more likely. Crickets aren’t so common where I currently live in San Jose; but when I lived in Colorado, crickets galore, that was cricket country. I can’t say I ever had one get in the car or truck and make any noises, but they’d get inside the house all the time, and even just one could make an impossible to ignore racket. More of a problem in warmer weather than colder. Since the noise was so loud I could usually find them and escort them back outside.

One idea, the frequency of the repetition of the chirps is proportional to temperature. So you could take some data of chirp to chirp time vs temperature to see if that matched up. The quickest way is to just find it, like I did when one of them got into the house. A child has better hearing abilities at those frequencies, so try to recruit an 8-10 year old kid to help find it. Crickets tend to be pretty small, so the can get in pretty tight places, which is also a reason to hire a kid to help find it.

Update: Friday morning I was running errands with my “chirping bird” happily singing along. When I got home about 1 PM, I AGAIN opened all the doors and left it open. I went to meet my son and daughter-in-law for dinner (actually, more to see my 1 year old granddaughter) at about 5:30 PM. My “chirping bird” had decided to take up residence somewhere else. It was no longer chirping and I still haven’t heard it.

Side note: I have all the seats out of my van for hauling dogs and “stuff”. (I would think my dogs would give it incentive to move elsewhere.) I looked several times with a flashlight inside the van in every nook and cranny, I looked under the hood, and also looked on the underside of the van. My dad also looked. I can’t say the mystery is solved - my dad still thinks a “lizard”. But I do know whatever it was, has moved on. I am happy!

Sincere thanks for the follow-up. I’m glad the chirper moved on to a better home.
Happy motoring.