when do birds nest in chimneys

Probably the birds you hear are nesting in your chimney, and they’re right where they want to be. The most likely possibility is that the birds are Chimney Swifts (assuming you live within their range in eastern North America). If so, the young will have no trouble at all leaving the chimney. It’s possible they’re European Starlings, which commonly nest in cavities and crevices in buildings. Those young aren’t as adept as swifts, but they’re still likely to be able to fly safely out of the nest when it’s time.

Sometimes, larger cavity-nesting birds like Wood Ducks and Barn Owls can fall down into a chimney and are too large to fly out, but these would make quite different sounds than a nest full of chicks. If you have a traditional chimney, you can try turning off all the lights in the house, leaving a door open and opening the flue—the bird will see the light of the exit and try to get out. If that fails, it is best to contact a licensed rehabilitator or nuisance wildlife control officer; you can find one in your area by searching on Google.

Make sure you don’t use your fireplace until you are sure all birds have left your chimney.

Read more about the remarkable Chimney Swift (or, in the West, Vaux’s Swift), listen to its chattering call, and compare it to the European Starling, in our All About Birds species guide.

How can I stop a bird from nesting in my chimney?

when do birds nest in chimneys

Chimneys provide birds with a warm, dry, and secure environment that is ideal for nesting during the nesting season. When a bird sees a chimney, it can be tempting for it to make itself at home. However, with a few precautions, such as installing a bird guard, cleaning your chimney, and doing routine inspections, you can help keep birds—especially endangered species—from jeopardizing their safety in your chimney.

when do birds nest in chimneys

Installing a chimney cowl—also referred to as a capping cowl, chimney cap, or bird guards—on top of your chimney pot is one of the best ways to prevent birds from building nests in your chimney.

The hood-shaped coverings keep birds out of your chimney and enhance its performance by preventing the accumulation of leaves and other debris and wind from blowing smoke back into your house. This is especially helpful for people who have lung or respiratory conditions, dry coughs, or other respiratory ailments.

when do birds nest in chimneys

We advise adding chimney cowls to the top of every chimney stack and consider a chimney cap or bird guard to be a minor investment with big returns. These chimney cowls not only keep birds from building nests, but they also aid in keeping rain from getting into the chimney and moistening the hearth.

Installing bird spikes around the chimney pot is another technique to prevent birds from constructing nests in your chimney. This will bird-proof your chimney and prevent them from gaining access to the chimney flue and starting their nesting activities.

When can I expect birds to nest in my chimney?

While it’s possible to find bird nests in your chimney year-round, nesting season is when they typically appear. This runs from February to August in the UK, but it’s important to remember that nesting seasons vary by species, with most birds beginning their nests in March.

But keep in mind that London offers year-round pest control!

What are the signs of birds in your chimney?

when do birds nest in chimneys

Finding twigs, grass, leaves, and even hair or other nesting material on the ground beneath your chimney or in your fire grate is one of the most typical indicators that a bird’s nest has been made inside your chimney. There’s a good chance that you have birds building nests in your house if you start to notice these nesting materials.

There are occasions when a whole collapsed nest falls into the fireplace as well, which is a clear indication that birds are nesting above.

The dreaded bird droppings are another indicator of a bird’s nest. It’s crucial to prevent birds from nesting and to schedule a bird nest removal as soon as possible because, in addition to being unsightly, bird droppings can spread illnesses and infections as well as food poisoning throughout your house.

If you do come across these droppings, keep your distance and remove them carefully with gloves. They need to be disposed of afterward.

Even though many of us enjoy listening to birds sing in the morning, you might not enjoy it as much if the birds are singing inside your chimney.

Hearing regular bird cooing and chirping from your chimney is one of the common indicators that a bird nest is inside.

Make sure, if you have a chimney, that you take the time to listen carefully during quieter times, particularly throughout the night, to determine if a bird, or family of birds, are nesting. If you live in a busy area, it may be difficult if you regularly hear pigeons cooing and loud traffic noise.

Some birds will eventually perish because chimneys are dangerous places for them to nest, especially if the fire has been going on and the temperature has increased. Regretfully, the appearance of a dead bird at the base of your chimney breast is another indication that birds have chosen to nest in your chimney.

In the unfortunate event that this occurs, you should dispose of the bird appropriately, make sure you wash your hands well, and discard any cloths you used to carry the bird afterward to stop the spread of illnesses or infections.