Hearing birds outside after a long, chilly winter season can be a great comfort. Yet, when those sounds start coming from your chimney, that pleasant feeling can quickly turn to frustration.
As more and more trees are getting cut down for construction and development purposes, birds, squirrels, raccoons, and other wild critters are seeking shelter inside chimneys or other man-made structures. Your chimney makes an ideal home for many types of birds, but there is one that sticks out among the rest – the chimney swift.
What sets this particular animal apart? Well this bird, among others, is protected by federal law under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. This means that once they’ve settled in, you can’t simply have a wildlife removal service safely take them out. They’ll have to stay put until they’re ready to migrate again – and harming or removing them is punishable by law.
Because of this, Owens Chimney Systems will never remove chimney swifts from their nesting spots in chimneys. But we do have solutions for you once they’re gone!
Learn more about these birds below, as well as how to keep them out of your chimney and what our crew at Owens Chimney Systems, Inc. can do to help. Questions? Feel free to call or reach out through our website! We’re here for you.
All About Chimney Swifts
Chimney swifts are tiny, cigar-shaped birds with small bodies, long/narrow wings, and short necks, bills, and tails. They’re very active and known for spending most of their time in flight. In fact, they even take their baths in flight! They simply glide down into the water, hitting the surface with their bodies, then shake off the water as they continue to fly away.
Why do they like chimneys so much? Well, chimney swifts don’t perch. Rather, they cling to vertical surfaces, building their nests along the wall using their glue-like saliva to hold everything together. In the past, these birds would commonly nest and roost in hollow trees, caves, and on cliff faces.
Unfortunately, these nesting areas aren’t as prevalent as they used to be, forcing the birds to seek comparable nesting locations elsewhere. They now prefer nesting in chimneys and other artificial sites, including open wells, air vents, garages, silos, and barns.
And they help us out, too! A single family of chimney swifts can eat upwards of 12,000 insects a day, which includes things like mosquitoes, moths, spiders, gnats, termites, and biting flies. Unfortunately, due to limited options out there for nesting, their numbers have declined, which is why they are now protected.
Hazards of Swifts (& Other Birds) in Your Chimney
Now, there are multiple issues that can arise if swifts take over your chimney for the season. For one, you’ll have bird droppings falling into your fireplace, which is odorous, messy, and less than sanitary. There’s also the possibility they’ll become trapped and pass away, which would invite more, along with pests and bugs, in a hurry.
Another issue these critters can cause has to do with the nesting materials they leave behind once they depart your chimney. The straw, leaves, and sticks they use to make nests is flammable and can be a fire hazard if not promptly removed.
And these nests can block things up, too, causing smoke and harmful gases (like carbon monoxide) to enter your home.
How Do I Keep Chimney Swifts Out?
If you haven’t used your chimney in a while, it’s best to play it safe and check for critters inside before lighting a fire. Listen closely for chirping, scratching noises, and other scurrying noises, as these indicate something is in there that shouldn’t be.
And if chimney swifts are the culprit behind suspicious noises? Well, like we said, removing them isn’t allowed. Unfortunately, with chimney swifts the only option you have is to wait. Eventually they’ll migrate back down south, and you’ll be able to take action to keep them out the following year (because you can bet the same bird family will return).
But how do you keep them out? Fortunately, we have a simple answer for you – chimney caps. After ensuring all nesting materials and debris are cleared from the chimney, we can install a custom-fitted cap specific to your unique setup.
The best part about having a chimney cap installed by our team of professionals is the extra benefits they have to offer. Along with keeping out swifts and other birds, they’ll also prevent wild critters like squirrels, raccoons, and the like from coming in, too. Caps are also widely known for keeping out rain and moisture, stopping stray sparks and embers from landing on your roof, and blocking out any harmful debris that the wind tries to blow in.
And at Owens Chimney, we have a wide range of chimney cap options made from both copper and stainless steel. Reach out today to learn which choices would be best suited to your needs!
Don’t Wait! Call Now
If you don’t have birds or critters in your chimney yet, but are worried they’re going to make their way in, then it’s time to call in our team of professionals. Our experts have extensive experience, we’re certified with the CSIA, and we’re known for our exceptional customer service.
Don’t wait until it’s too late! Get the protection you deserve today.