How to Stop Chimney Swifts from Invading Your Chimney

April 24, 2019

Now that it’s spring, you’ve probably noticed birds building nests in trees, bushes, empty mailboxes, and pretty much any other spot they can find. One place you really don’t want birds nesting? In your chimney. The very worst offender is probably the chimney swift, who can occupy chimneys in the hundreds or thousands. Here are some tips for keeping chimney swifts at bay.

What Are Chimney Swifts, And Why Are They Such a Problem?

Chimney swifts are small, cigar-shaped birds with long, slender wings. Like most swifts, these birds spend almost their entire lives in the air, only coming down to briefly nest and then leave again. One or two birds wouldn’t be much of a problem, but unfortunately, chimney swifts sleep in massive communal roosts of hundreds or thousands. And once you have them, you’re stuck with them: since chimney sweeps are federally protected, it’s illegal to remove them once they’ve settled down.

Why You Need to Act Quickly 

Chimney swifts start to enter chimneys in the spring, a time when most people aren’t thinking about lighting a fire. That means that most homeowners don’t notice them until it’s too late. Once swifts have invaded a chimney, the homeowner must tolerate the smell and mess of bird feces and loud, disruptive chirping until they leave in late July.

The problem still isn’t over, unfortunately. Since swifts are migratory birds, they often return to the same nesting grounds year after year. If you don’t get a chimney inspection or chimney repair, your chimney may become an annual nest for chimney swifts!

Why Chimney Swifts Are Hazardous

To some, these sweet little birds might be worth tolerating for a few weeks—but a chimney swift invasion actually presents a significant danger to human health. Since the birds migrate from South America to North America through a wide variety of habitats, they are exposed to a wide range of microorganisms, and can carry a number of foreign bacteria and diseases.

How to Keep Chimney Swifts Out: Apex Chimney Repair

Chimney swifts almost always enter chimneys through a damaged chimney cap. Because swifts are so small, a chimney cap that is ill-fitting or has shifted since its initial installation may have a gap big enough for a swift to fit through. Likewise, small holes or breaks in the mesh or wire sides can also allow swifts to squeeze in. To keep swifts from invading your chimney, it is important to have it regularly inspected for damage. A chimney repair company can ensure that the chimney cap is secure, and as an added bonus, make sure that every other aspect of the chimney is safe for use as well.

I Have Swifts in My Chimney – Now What?

If the birds in your chimney are found to be chimney swifts, unfortunately, nothing can be done. Chimney swifts are protected under the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which makes it a federal offense to damage or remove chimney swift nests until the hatchlings have left. Luckily for homeowners, chimney swifts have an extremely short nesting cycle; it takes just six weeks for hatchlings leaving the nest. You and your family will simply have to grin and bear it for a month or so, and then, take steps to insure they don’t come back next year.

Need an Apex Chimney Repair or Installation? Call Nexus Chimney

Chimney swifts are more than just a yearly nuisance; they can cause serious damage to your chimney system and create safety hazards for you and your family. To keep chimney swifts from invading your chimney, schedule an appointment with Nexus Chimney today.