So, you have chimney swifts in your chimney. The next questions may be, do they belong there and is it a big deal if they stick around? Chimney swifts may think your chimney is the perfect spot to set up camp, but the truth is that using a chimney that has chimney swifts and their nesting materials inside of it is unsafe for both you and the creatures themselves.
At Lords Chimney, we come across this issue from time to time, and we feel that it’s an important subject for our customers to understand. Learn more about these animals below, then keep reading to discover the best ways to keep them out of your chimney for good. Our expert team is ready to help you out!
What Is A Chimney Swift?
A chimney swift is a small bird that is known for its ability to stay in flight for extremely long periods of time. They’re typically darker in color with rounded heads, long and curved wings, and short beaks, tails, and necks. They eat all types of airborne insects and, as far as nesting and building homes, they favor steep, sheltered areas like hollow trees, caves, garages, air vents, and – you guessed it – chimneys.
Another thing to note about chimney swifts is that their population is in decline, which is why they are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. This means, once they settle in your chimney to raise young, there’s not a lot you can do about it. In fact, purposefully hurting these birds or removing a nest that may contain eggs or young could land you with some fines and/or penalties!
So, what can be done once a family of chimney swifts moves in? The truth is – nothing. All that is left to do at this point is wait until they migrate back down south, so you can remove their nesting materials and make your fireplace safer for regular use again. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for the birds to come back to the same spot again year after year, so it’s important to take action now to ensure they can’t get into your chimney next spring.
Taking Preventative Action
One thing that can be done to keep chimney swifts, as well as other woodland critters, out of your chimney for good is to have a chimney cap installed. Chimney caps cover your flue opening, so that animals cannot enter your chimney to build nests and raise young. This benefits both you and the animals! Your home will be a lot safer and more comfortable, and the animals won’t get stuck with no way out again.
The great thing about chimney caps is that they provide plenty of other benefits, as well. They ensure excess moisture stays out of your chimney and help prevent downdrafts, so you’re not stuck with a smokey living space night after night. They’ll also stop sparks from escaping the chimney, so they don’t risk landing on your flammable roofing materials. Achieving peace of mind has never been easier!
Hearing strange noises from your chimney? There’s a good chance you have chimney swifts residing close by! Chimney swifts are one of the more common creatures you’ll see inside your chimney system. In addition, they need to be addressed differently than squirrels, raccoons, bats, or other bird breeds. Learn more about chimney swifts by reading below.
What Do They Look Like?
Chimney swifts are small birds with tiny beaks. They are darker in color, which can make them more challenging to see at night. Their necks are short, and their slim-style bodies work well with their longer and narrower wings. Something distinctive about chimney swifts is that they are almost constantly in motion.
Why are chimney swifts more likely to rest in your chimney than anywhere else? The way their claws are designed makes it hard for them to perch like most birds. Instead, they cling to verticals walls to rest and build their nests. Some of these locations include the inside of hollow trees, cave interiors, and, obviously, the linings of chimneys.
As trees has been torn down over the years, chimneys have become more and more ideal for this species of bird. They are warm, strong, and make a great location for laying eggs and raising young.
How Do I Remove Them?
Things get a bit complicated when it comes to the removal of these birds. There has been a significant decline in the number of chimney swifts and, due to this decrease in population, they have become protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. This means that killing these birds or destroying nests that contain eggs or young, is against the law.
Due to these restrictions, any cleanings, inspections, or fireplace use must be stopped until the birds leave on their own accord. Once they migrate away from the nest, it can be removed, and you can use your fireplace as normal.
Once everything is gone, be sure to cap your chimney to prevent any further problems. Chimney caps seal the top of your chimney so that birds and other animals will not be able to enter. You may also want to have an inspection done to ensure that no holes, cracks, and other possible entry points are present.
Count On Us
If you have birds in your chimney and have more questions as far as their removal, please give us a call and we will do everything we can to help you out. If chimney swifts are present, we can get your cleaning and inspection done as soon as they are gone, so you can enjoy your fall and winter season to the fullest!
Learn more by browsing our site, then call us today to set up a time that we can work with you. We look forward to hearing from you!
A quiet evening at home is disrupted by scurrying, scratching, crying, or clawing sounds coming from the chimney. You have critters in the fireplace – but now what do you do?
Even animals that find their way into your chimney may not be able to get back out. Because of this, it is important to contact a wildlife rescue group or chimney sweep company experienced in safely removing animals as soon as possible.
How did the critters get in?
From small squirrels to large raccoons, animals view chimneys as safe, protected areas to build nests and hide from predators. This means that animals will sometimes do whatever it takes to get into a chimney – even to the point of damaging the masonry or other chimney components.
One of the most common ways that critters get into your fireplace is by a damaged chimney cap. Even tiny holes and gaps in the mesh or wire sides may be big enough to allow a small bird or rodent to squeeze through. Likewise, larger animals such as raccoon have been known to worsen chimney damage in an effort to get into the fireplace.
Unfortunately, only raccoons are able to climb the slick walls of the chimney again and again; because of this, other animals may quickly become stuck, trapped, or disoriented in the dark chimney flue once they get in. Trapped animals often sound frantic, scratching, clawing, and beating their wings against the flue in an effort to get out.
How do I get the critters out?
It is important to leave animal removal to the professionals no matter how big – or small – the critter in your chimney is. Some birds, such as chimneys swifts, are protected by law under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and cannot be removed until after they have nested; an animal removal professional will identify the type of animal in the chimney and help safely remove the critters with minimal chimney damage.
If you have animal in your chimney it is important to leave the damper fully closed. Even partially opening the damper can create a space large enough for the animals to squeeze into your fireplace. This then gives them access to the rest of your home; a bird trapped in a chimney is much easier to remove than one flying around your living room! Homeowners should also not “smoke out” any animals; doing this can further disorient or even kill the animals in the chimney while potentially igniting nesting materials and other debris.
Keeping critters out
A well maintained and regularly inspected chimney is often the best line of defense against animal entry. Chimney sweeps can help identify any areas of damage or deterioration where animals could potentially get in; likewise, if you’ve had animal entry in the past we can help identify the areas the critters are getting in.
From squirrels to swifts, critters can cause significant damage to your chimney system. If you have animals in your chimney or have had problems with animal entry in the past, contact Lords Chimney today!