During the spring and summer, nesting birds can be found in tree tops, under the eaves of roof, and more. As much as you may enjoy listening to bird songs and chirps or watching baby birds grow from eggs and leave the nest, there is one place you do not want birds to take up residence – in your chimney.
While birds in your chimney may seem like just a nuisance, they can cause a surprising amount of damage. Because of this, it is recommended to have birds and bird nests safely and humanely removed as soon as possible. Unfortunately, there are several species of migratory birds, including chimney swifts, that are protected by federal law and cannot be removed.
Recognizing chimney swifts
Chimney swifts are small, grey and brown migratory birds that can be found nesting throughout the Midwest during the spring and summer. While these birds once preferred hollow trees to nest in, urbanization caused them to adapt and begin nesting in chimneys. Swifts are easily recognizable with small, cigar shaped bodies, a distinctive call, and unique, jerky flight patterns.
How swifts get into your chimney
Chimney swifts are easily access the flue through damaged chimney caps. Because they are so small, they can squeeze through holes or gaps as small as just a few inches. Once inside the chimney, swifts built their nests vertically against the walls of the flue. In addition to damaging the flue and the chimney liner, nesting materials can create blockages that prevent proper drafting and droppings can cause damage throughout the chimney system.
Give chimney swifts a proper home!
Whether you have had swifts in your chimney in the past or simply want to help provide safe nesting grounds for these migratory birds, it is easy to create a proper home for chimney swifts!
Because they prefer tall, narrow, enclosed spaces for nesting, building a nesting space for chimney swifts is as easy as building a box. Using rough plywood, construct a narrow box approximately 12 feet high, with a 1 square foot opening near the top. This gives chimney swifts an alternative nesting site, keeping them safe – and hopefully out of your chimney.
I think I have chimney swifts – now what?
If you have swifts in your chimney, there is little that can be done; because they are federally protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, they cannot be removed until the nesting cycle is complete. Luckily, this is relatively short and hatchlings should leave the nest within 6 weeks.
Once the hatchlings have left the nest, repairs can be made to the chimney. A certified chimney sweep can help remove the nest and other debris from the chimney; they can also identify how the swifts got in and repair the point of entry to prevent them from coming back in the future.
Chimney swifts may wreak havoc on our chimney systems, but it is still important to care for these migratory birds. Building an alternate home for chimney swifts to nest in can allow you to enjoy these unique birds – but not at the expense of your chimney. For more information on preventing chimney swift entry in your home, contact Jack Pixley Sweeps today!