Do you hear chirping and rustling in your chimney? Do you notice birds flying in and out of your chimney around dusk each evening? Then chances are you have chimney swifts inside your chimney.
Chimney swifts are migratory birds that spend summer in the northeastern United States before flying to Peru for the winter. Chimney swifts build their nests on protected vertical surfaces. Their preferred nesting location — hollowed out trees — is a scarcity in many areas. So they have adapted to make their homes on the inner walls of masonry chimneys, which is the perfect surface for constructing nests from twigs.
How can you tell if you have chimney swifts?
Chimney swifts are really noise. You will hear the rustling of wings and movement in your chimney as adult birds construct their nests. That noise will eventually be followed by chirping of baby birds. If you think you’re hearing chimney swifts in your chimney, the best way is standing outside your home near dusk. This is when they leave their nest to feed on insects. They have dark gray cigar-shaped bodies, squared-off tails and a wingspan of about a foot.
Chimney swifts don’t cause any damage to your chimney, as long as you take precautions while they are inside your chimney. You should also make sure to clean your chimney thoroughly once they leave.
What do you do if you have chimney swifts in your chimney?
If chimney swifts have taken residence in your chimney, they are staying for the summer. They are protected under the federal Migratory Bird Act, which makes it illegal to remove them or harm their nesting. If you have swifts in your chimney, close your chimney damper to prevent them from entering your home or becoming trapped. Once they leave their roost for the winter, which usually happens around November, have your chimney swept and inspected to remove the nest and debris left behind by them.
How can you help chimney swifts?
Many bird lovers look for ways to protect and aid chimney swifts. Some homeowners will even have their chimneys swept in early spring to create a welcoming habitat for chimney swifts. If you’re not willing to throw out a welcome mat for chimney swifts, there are still things you can do to help nurture chimney swifts.
First, you should install a chimney cap surrounded by a wire cage. This will keep swifts out of your chimney. You can also install a chimney roost to provide an alternative home to swifts. Look for swift roosts in your area and work to make sure those roosts are protected during the nesting season.
If you’ve had chimney swifts in your chimney this fall, call Total Chimney Care at 203-874-6772! Once the swifts have left, we can clean and inspect your chimney to make sure it is safe for use this fall, and we can also install a chimney cap to prevent future nesting.