Birds in chimney? It’s not as uncommon as you might think – birds are attracted to the warmth of a fireplace, and if there’s an opening into your flue, they’ll often find their way in.
As the nesting season approaches, you might find a few feathered friends in your chimney. This is because birds tend to look for food and shelter in familiar places.
So, if birds nest near your chimney, they may be more likely to enter it in search of a cozy place to build their nest.
But birds in your chimney can cause many problems – from making a mess to starting fires. It would be best to understand the risks involved before deciding how to deal with them.
Here, we discuss several things you need to know about birds in your chimney – and how to keep them out.
Reasons Why Birds End up in Chimneys
Several reasons contribute to having a bird in your fireplace. The birds could be looking for a safe nesting place or searching for food. Either way, birds often end up in chimneys because:
1. Looking for a Cozy Place to Nest
Birds are creatures of habit. Once they find a cozy place to nest, they often return to the same spot yearly. If your chimney has been home to birds in the past, they may keep coming back because they’re familiar with the area.
2. Missing or Damaged Chimney Cap
If your chimney doesn’t have a cap or the existing cap is damaged, birds can quickly fly down the chimney and end up in your fireplace. A properly fitted chimney cap can help keep birds out.
3. Top Sealing Damper Needs a Repair or Replacement
Another way birds can enter your chimney is if the top sealing chimney damper isn’t working correctly. If there’s a gap in the seal, birds can quickly fly into the chimney and become stuck.
How Do You Tell If There Are Birds in the Chimney?
What are some of the signs that birds might be in your chimney?
- Weird sounds: You might hear birds inside your chimney if you silence the room. These birds are likely roosting birds like sparrows, chimney swifts, swallows, and starlings. You might hear them chirping, cooing, or shuffling around.
- Droppings: Look at the ground below your fireplace or wood stove. If you see bird droppings, that’s a good sign that birds are getting in and out of your chimney.
- Nests: Birds roost there if you see a nest inside your chimney. Nests are usually made of sticks, leaves, grass, and feathers.
- Birds flying out: You might see birds flying out of your chimney when you light a fire. This is a good sign that birds use your chimney as an exit and entry point.
- Unpleasant Smell: The smell of something unpleasant from your fireplace could be the birds. Their droppings and feathers can create an unpleasant smell. It could also mean a bird has died in your chimney.
The Dangers of Having Birds in the Chimney
Having birds in your chimney is a dangerous proposition. For instance, the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act protects migratory birds like chimney swifts.
Not only are they protected by state and federal law, but their droppings can carry diseases that are harmful to humans.
Birds can easily contribute to the following problems:
1. Bird Droppings Diseases, Bacterial and Fungal Infections
All birds carry bacteria and disease in their droppings. When these droppings accumulate in your chimney, it creates an environment where harmful bacteria and fungi can grow. This can lead to serious respiratory problems for you and your family.
Birds in your chimney can also attract other pests, such as rodents and snakes. These pests can carry their diseases and cause further damage to your home.
3. Chimney Blockage
Birds can nest in your chimney, blocking the flue and preventing proper ventilation. This can cause dangerous gases to build up in your home.
Some of these gases include carbon monoxide, which can cause health problems, or even fatal disasters for you and your family.
4. Fire Hazard
Lastly, birds in your chimney are a fire hazard. Their nesting materials can easily ignite, causing a devastating fire that could destroy your home.
If you suspect you have birds in your chimney, it is crucial to take action immediately. You can do a few things to eliminate them, and we share those tips below.
Tips to Getting Rid of Birds in a Chimney
When birds decide to make a home in your chimney, it can be a nuisance. And while there are many ways to get rid of birds in your chimney, not all are effective.
Here, we have good and bad tips on getting birds out of your chimney so you can try what works best for your situation.
Here are some recommended tips for safely and effectively removing birds from your chimney:
Scare the Birds
One way to get birds out of your chimney is to scare them off. You can do this in many ways, such as:
- Hanging shiny objects from the top of the chimney
- Attaching Mylar streamers or ribbons to the outside of the chimney
- Use flashlights or spotlights to shine light into the vent at night
- Playing recordings of birds in distress or predators
- You can also set off smokeless crackers near the vent to scare the birds away
Set up Traps
Another way to get birds out of your chimney is to set up traps. The most common trap used for birds is the baited cage trap.
To set up a baited cage trap, you will need:
- A large wire cage
- Bait such as birdseed, mealworms, or berries
- A perch for the bird to sit on
Place the cage over the chimney’s opening and secure it to set up the trap. Then, bait the trap with birdseed, mealworms, or berries. Once the bird is inside the cage, it cannot escape.
What we Don’t Recommend
Here are tips that we don’t recommend for removing birds from your chimney:
Removing Bird Nests
Because federal law protects native birds, it is illegal to remove birds’ nests from your chimney without a permit. Handling the nest might also mean an open window to catch diseases birds might carry.
Smoking Out Birds
This is bad in multiple ways. It is inhumane, and smoke could cause a fire.
Lighting a Fire
Lastly, it’s not good to smoke birds out of your chimney by lighting a fire. This is dangerous, and it’s also illegal in some states.
Call Animal Control
If you’ve tried the above methods and nothing has worked, your next step should be to call animal control. They will be able to help you remove the birds from your chimney safely and legally.
How To Prevent Birds In Chimneys
The best way to get rid of birds in your chimney is to prevent them from getting in. To do this, you can:
1. Have a Chimney Cap
Having a chimney cap installed is the best way to keep birds out of your chimney. A chimney cap covers the opening of your vent and has a wire mesh that prevents birds from being able to get through.
2. Seal All Gaps and Cracks
Birds can enter your home through the smallest of gaps and cracks. Inspect your chimney for cracks or crevices and seal them with caulk or mortar.
3. Keep Your Chimney Clean
A dirty chimney is an inviting place for birds to build a nest. Be sure to have your chimney inspected and cleaned regularly to prevent birds from taking residence.
It’s common for most birds, especially chimney swifts, to take up roost in chimneys. If you have birds in your chimney, you must act fast and get them out before they cause any damage or start a fire.
You can use various methods to remove birds from your chimney or call a professional. You can also prevent birds from roosting in your chimney by installing a bird guard or capping your chimney.