Dealing with chimney swifts

Each spring brings an interesting prospect to your chimney: The possibility of chimney swifts nesting. So what exactly are chimney swifts, what problems do they cause and what can do you if the find their way into your chimney?

Dealing With Chimney Swifts - Indianapolis IN - Your Chimney Sweep

What are chimney swifts?

Chimney swifts are migratory birds that find their way into North America each March after wintering in South America. They nest in May through August, before returning to warmer weather each November. They are often mistaken for bats because of the jerky movements they exhibit when flying and eating bugs. Unlike other birds, chimney swifts cannot balance on horizontal tree branches, so they attach their nests to vertical surfaces. In the wild, that means hollowed out trees. They also love to build nests on the rough vertical inner surfaces of masonry chimneys.

What problems do chimney swifts cause?

While it may unsettle you to think of a bird nest in your chimney, chimney swifts don’t cause any damage to your chimney. You’ll likely be aware of their presence because you’ll hear a chirping noise coming from your chimney. They generally inhabit chimneys during the warm months when you won’t be building fires, so they won’t interfere with the function of your chimney. The also feed on insects, so if your chimney plays host to chimney swifts, you may see the benefit of having fewer insects in your yard this summer.

What can you do about chimney swifts?

If you notice chimney swifts in your chimney, you must play host to them until they are done nesting. Chimney swifts fall under a protected class of migratory birds, so it is illegal for swifts, their nests or their eggs to be removed from a chimney. If you want to avoid swifts in your chimney, there is a simple way to do so. Have a chimney cap, surrounded by metal caging, attached to the top of your chimney before swifts begin their migration north. With a cap in place, the swifts will not be able to make their way into your chimney to build a nest.

What can you do to encourage chimney swifts?

Chimney swifts have seen declining populations as their woodland habitats are destroyed. Because of that, many people enjoy playing host to chimney swifts to help their populations grow. To encourage chimney swifts, have your chimney swept from creosote as soon as you are done burning fires for the year and before the swifts begin to nest in May. Remove your chimney cap to allow chimney swifts to enter, and make sure that your damper is closed to prevent a baby swift from falling down the chimney into your fireplace. When the swifts have left for the year, have your chimney swept again to make sure that the remnants of their nest will not interfere with your chimney.

If you have any questions or concerns about swifts in your chimney, call the experts at Your Chimney Sweep! We’ll be able to help address your concerns to help you protect your chimney

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