Throughout the life of your chimney system, you may be confronted with many things–maintenance, repairs, rebuild, and various preventative services. Something that homeowners may not think about, but is actually quite common, is chirping and chattering in your chimney.
Of all the critters and winged intruders who might sneak into your chimney system, chimney swifts may be the most common. These small birds have been migrating through North America for centuries, nesting in hollow trees between May and October. When chimneys became more readily available than hollow trees, the chimney swifts adapted and now nest almost exclusively in chimneys. The birds travel in enormous flocks, and hundreds or thousands may inhabit the same space, meaning a ruckus group of chirpers in your home!
According to the National Audubon Society, the population of chimney swifts in North America dropped by 53 percent between 1966 and 2007. In that time, Canada’s population of chimney swifts dropped by 90 percent. What has caused the population to plummet?
Times are changing! In the chimney industry, new technology and advancements mean more efficient options for home heating that exclude the chimney completely. Households opting for other heat sources or securing their chimneys with chimney caps rob chimney swifts of their home.
What You Can Do
Chimney companies do not want you to remove your chimney cap. Your chimney should always have a secure cap in place. However, part of our responsibility to our customers is also to the environment. That’s why many chimney professionals sell and install swift-friendly chimney caps that still keep large critters and water out of the chimney, but allow chimney swifts to nest inside. If your chimney has a stainless steel liner, you don’t have to worry about chimney swifts at all, because they cannot nest in a chimney with a steel liner. However, if you’d still like to help the chimney swift, you can build a chimney swift tower. Organizations such as the Chimney Swift Conservation Association allocate funds for such projects.
If You Have Swifts
If you have noticed the enormous flocks of birds flying around your roof at dawn and dusk, or if you hear “chittering” coming from your chimney, you definitely have guests. They will nest from May to October and then disappear. Swifts are federally protected and cannot be removed once they are there. If you suspect you have a problem, call Newbuck Chimney Services, and we’ll dispatch an expert to identify them. Since we cannot remove them, they will need to be monitored so that your sweep can clean and inspect the chimney when they leave. Nesting materials can ignite when a fire is lit, so it must be cleaned before burn season. To avoid the same occurrence next year, we can also install a secure chimney cap while we’re at it.
Contact Newbuck Chimney Services to have your chimney assessed today.