Your chimney provides an inviting environment for a variety of animals — from bats to raccoons — looking for a warm, sheltered place. One species of birds are particularly drawn to chimneys. They can be an especially big nuisance for homeowners: Chimney swifts.
About Chimney Swifts
Chimney swifts migrate north each March from South America to North America Many swifts take up residence in the eastern two-thirds of the United States. They become a hazard to homeowners between May and August, when they look to build their nests. Unlike other birds, chimney swifts can’t perch on surfaces such as trees, so they have to find vertifcal surfaces on which to build their nests. In the past, chimney swifts nested in dead, hollowed-out trees. Yet, as cities expanded, chimney swifts became common in cities and suburbs. They nest in chimneys and other vertical structures, which are easier to come by than hollow trees.
Chimney Swifts in Your Chimney
Should chimney swifts take up residence in your chimney, there is good news: They are relatively harmless. You might hear the regular chirping of the birds or rustling movements from your chimney. There may even be some mess left behind, but chimney swifts won’t cause damage to your chimney’s masonry or structure. Obviously, you cannot burn a fire in your fireplace if swifts are nesting there, but since swifts nest during warm-weather months, that usually doesn’t pose an inconvenience. Hosting chimney swifts does come with one advantage: Chimney swifts eat insects. They will decrease the insect population around your home for the summer months.
Keeping Chimney Swifts at Bay
There is one problem with chimney swifts nesting in your chimney: You can’t remove them. Nesting chimney swifts must be allowed to remain in their nest until they leave on their own. Chimney swifts are part of a protected class of migratory birds, so it is illegal to remove the swifts, their eggs, or their nests from your chimney.
Chimney swifts can bring quite a mess and be inconvenient for your chimney use. However, you can keep them from nesting in your chimney at all. You can install a chimney cap with a wire cage fitted to the top of your chimney before the nesting season begins for chimney swifts. If chimney swifts do take up residence in your chimney before you have time to block them out, you will need to have your chimney swept and any nesting materials cleared away once the chimney swifts clear out of your chimney for the winter.
Get your chimney cap installed today by calling Fluesbrothers Chimney Service! We can fit your chimney with a new cap to keep swifts out, sweep your chimney to invite swifts, or clean up the mess inside your chimney after nesting swifts have left.