Birds are a welcome sign of spring. As they hop around the yard and fill the air with their songs, they add to the pleasant ambiance of the season and signal that warmer days are ahead. But birds aren’t always a pleasure in spring: Sometimes they find their ways into chimneys as they look for places to build their springtime nests. So what do you do if you hear the telltale signs of wing flaps or chirping in your chimney?

Close off your fireplace.

If you hear a trapped or nesting bird in your chimney, the first thing to do is to close off your chimney from your fireplace, and your fireplace from your home. You do not want a panicked bird to find its way into your living space, where it can cause damage and spread disease. If you have a throat damper, close it. If you have fireplace doors, close those, too. Do not attempt to “smoke” the bird out of your chimney by building a fire; this will likely kill the bird, leaving you to get smelly remains out of your chimney.

Determine what kind of birds have invaded your chimney.

Before you can do anything to remove birds from your chimney, you have to determine what type of birds have taken up residence in your flue. That’s because a common chimney nester, chimney swifts, are a protected species; any attempt to remove nesting swifts is illegal. Take some time to watch your chimney top. Swifts have small, cigar-shaped bodies and will return to the chimney around dusk each night. If you have a protected species nesting in your chimney, you will have to wait until they vacate the nests in late summer or early fall.

Hire a professional.

Bird or animal removal is best left to the professionals. Trained professionals will know how to identify which species can be removed and how to remove them safely. After a bird has been removed from your chimney, or after it has left the nest, your chimney will need to be cleaned and inspected to ensure that all of the debris left by the birds have been removed and that the chimney hasn’t suffered any damage as a result of the nesting birds.

Keep birds out with a chimney cap.

The best way to deal with birds in the chimney is to keep them out in the first place! Your chimney should be outfitted with a caged chimney cap. Not only do chimney caps keep water from flowing down the flue of your chimney and causing damage, they also prevent birds and animals from finding their way into your chimney, either by accident or while searching for a nesting spot.

If you have a bird in your chimney, or if you’d like to keep birds out with a chimney cap, call Fluesbrothers Chimney Service! We can help you deal with the aftermath of nesting birds or fit your flue with a chimney cap to prevent birds from entering the chimney.