Although towns and cities are very different from natural landscapes, many animals have found ways to adapt to life in urban areas. This is especially true for many types of insects, birds, and rodents that have learned to use structures that humans have built to provide homes for themselves. One of these animals is the chimney swift. Chimney swifts naturally build their nests on the inside of old hollowed-out trees. However, when hollowed-out trees are not available, chimneys offer an almost perfect replacement. This adaptation to urban life is good for chimney swifts because it means they are able to proliferate their species, but can be bad for homeowners who want to keep wild animals out of their residences. This problem is further complicated by the fact that chimney swifts are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 and removing their nests at the wrong time could land a homeowner in trouble.

Protected species

Chimney swifts are a protected migratory bird species. This means that if they build a nest in your chimney, you are not allowed to remove the nest until the brood has hatched and all birds have left the nest. This could be anywhere from one to two months after the nest is built, usually in late May to early June. Removal of an occupied nest by a homeowner or a chimney sweep is against the law and is punishable by fines or other penalties.

Issues with chimney swift nesting

The main issue with chimney swift nests is that they can clog up your chimney ventilation. This can cause issues with airflow and lead to subpar fires. Chimney swift hatchlings will also make some noise when they are feeding. Although this is short lived, it can be a nuisance to some homeowners. Finally, chimney swifts sometimes fly into newer chimneys which have smaller flues made of clay or metal. Chimney swifts can’t grip inside these flues and they can become trapped in the flue causing some of them to, unfortunately, perish.

Ways to prevent chimney swifts

The easiest and preferred way to prevent chimney swifts from nesting in your chimney is to simply deny them access to your chimney. This can be done by making sure you have a functional chimney cap attached to your chimney. A working chimney cap will prevent a chimney swift from making their nest in your chimney in the first place.

If you are worried about chimney swifts nesting in your chimney, now is the time to make sure your chimney is chimney swift-proof. Be sure your chimney is prepared for all critter invasions this spring and summer by calling Northeastern Masonry & Chimney at 518-767-9315 or visit us online to schedule an appointment today!