Help & Advice

Birds Nest In Chimney

Why Do Birds Go Down Chimneys?

Birds find chimneys an ideal place to set up home owing to the warmth and shelter that they provide.  Sometimes birds who are resting or nesting on top of the chimney wander inside, leaving themselves helpless and unable to fly back up to escape.  Once a bird has slipped off the edge of the chimney pot and fallen even a few inches, it can’t fly up again, there is not enough room to spread its wings, nor can they fly vertically.

If the bird doesn’t fall immediately, the noise of the wings flapping against the chimney walls will travel down the chimney (with a pile of soot), and this can be very distressing. Not only is it stressful for you, but it is very alarming for the bird. The bird will either – come down the chimney spreading soot all over the living room or stay perched on a ledge and eventually die. Either way, you need a professional chimney sweep to remove the bird cleanly and safely.

Signs That Birds Are Nesting In Your Chimney

  • If you start to find twigs and other debris in your fire grate then there is a strong possibility that nesting activity is taking place.
  • If you see birds flying back and forth dropping material into the chimney pot.
  • If you normally hear pigeons cooing or traffic noise and then the sounds stop there might be an obstruction in the flue.
  • A fly infestation is often a sign of a collapsed nest or a dead bird in the chimney.

I have birds nesting in my chimney, what should I do?

All birds, their nest and eggs are protected by the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981, and it is thus an offence to damage or destroy an active nest or prevent parent birds access to their nests.

The answer is, monitor the birds and once the young birds have fledged, call your chimney sweep to have the nest removed, fit a bird guard and a Carbon Monoxide Alarm, then you can use your fire safely.

Do Chimney Sweeps Remove Birds?

If you think you have a birds’ nest in your chimney – DO NOT light a fire.  This might seem obvious but some people try to burn the nest out.  You run the risk of setting fire or filling the whole house with smoke.

From the end of August through to March a sweep can remove the nest – this involves specialist equipment and can be quite time consuming depending on the size and material.

A CCTV inspection is carried out to ensure that all the debris has been cleared.  Finally, a smoke test is performed to confirm the correct draw is available to the fire.  A successful test means that there is a smooth passage for the products of combustion to evacuate freely, with the nest no longer serving as an obstruction.

We have removed numerous birds and squirrels safely from chimneys. See a bird release in our video.

How Do I Stop Birds Nesting In My Chimney?

Once you’ve had your chimney cleared, you should consider having your chimney fitted with an appropriate bird guard. Jackdaws, Rooks and Starlings, often birds to blame for nests in your chimney, usually try to return year after year to the same nesting site when they come back form their annual migration. 

Preventative measures

  • cap disused chimneys correctly
  • fit suitable approved bird guards
  • that allow you to use your chimney safely
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