The days are getting warmer, and migratory birds are making their path back across North America. You have likely noticed large flocks of birds flying across the sky or settling in fields and in power lines and trees. These birds are traveling now, but will soon begin nesting. There is one bird that instinctively nests in chimneys—and when they do, they can be a bit of a headache.
Chimney Swifts are federally protected as endangered. These birds used to be prolific across North America, but since they nest in hollow trees, their habitats have been largely destroyed. Forests have been replaced by business and residential areas, and hollow trees have been replaced by chimneys—perfect for the chimney swift. If allowed inside, a chimney swift will nest inside your chimney as if it’s always been its home. These birds move into the chimney flue, sometimes by the hundreds, and nest for approximately 90 days before leaving. Unlike other critters who may get into the chimney flue, chimney swifts cannot be removed, even in the most humane way, due to a federal mandate. In fact, if you have chimney swifts in your chimney, they cannot be removed, and you cannot light a fire until they leave. If this doesn’t sound fair to you, the best thing you can do is prevent the occurrence completely. Protect your chimney from swifts this spring by putting a bird-proof cap on the top of your flue.
Chimney caps not only prevent animals and tiny birds from entering your chimney system, but they also serve other purposes. For instance, your chimney cap will prevent precipitation from entering the chimney and causing water damage to the masonry and the home. In addition to protecting your chimney from animals and weather, the chimney cap also keeps the fire in its place. If sparks float up the chimney, the spark guard on the cap will prevent them from escaping and igniting nearby debris on the roof or dry grasses and shrubs on the ground.
You’ve heard of birdhouses. Some homeowners and environmentalists make it a priority to build similar structures for chimney swifts to nest. These keep the swifts from attempting to nest in the chimney, and allows a home for the birds to return to it year after year. We do not recommend that homeowners allow chimney swifts into their chimney system. They are not only very loud, but they will inhabit your chimney system for up to 90 days, and leave behind flammable bedding, stinky droppings, and more. It’s best to prevent the occurrence completely.
If you don’t think your chimney flue is animal proof, contact Black Moose Chimney & Stove as soon as possible. If your cap is missing, chimney swifts getting in and nesting will be the least of your worries. You may already have damage and hazards caused by exposure. Now is the time to schedule a chimney sweep and inspection so that a professional can assess the chimney system and correct issues (such as a missing cap).
Call 603-525-7905 today and discuss your chimney system with an expert.