13 May 2020

Do Birds Nest Down Chimneys?‍

Early spring is the time of year when birds begin nesting, during this time we receive numerous enquires regarding the removal of a potential bird nest from a chimney.

Under the Wildlife and Country Act, it is an offence to destroy or remove a nest during the nesting season which lasts from March to August.  It is necessary to wait until the end of August before checking that the nest is empty and can be removed.

According to James from the Edinburgh’s Bricklayers and Masonry Co, ”birds pose a far bigger risk than people assume”. Having birds’ in your chimney can lead to dangerous blockages, chimney fires, infestations and damp.  Even if you don’t intend to use your fireplace – you should still remove a nest.

A nest will completely block your chimney,  this can cause damp issues in the form of condensation build up. The chimney should be vented at both the top and the bottom as air is still allowed to flow through the chimney.

Nick Stokes, Main Editor at HeatWhiz.com, adds: “Besides the discomfort of birds chirping in your fireplace, the birds can actually infest your home with other harmful pests”. Birds’ nests carry bacteria and if a bird were to die this would cause maggots and bluebottles to fill your property.

The second significant danger is bird poop that will end up in your fireplace and can actually lead to diseases, some even as serious as histoplasmosis.

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.

Removing a birds nest

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.


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. Read about bird guards here.

If you suspect you may have birds nesting in your chimney, give us a call – 0208 351 7164. We can come and check, if the nest is active we can schedule to return in August to check again and get your chimney ready for the winter. 👍🎩🔥

Can find more info at our good friends Best Sweep