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  • Writer's pictureAlastair at amber chimney sweeps

Do birds nest in chimneys

Updated: Apr 6

by Alastair at amber chimney sweeps - click here to visit main website.

Early Spring is when birds start looking for suitable nesting sites. In addition to the usual trees and thick shrubbery, chimneys are also chosen by particular bird species with the Jackdaw being the most likely culprit. With an estimated 1.4 million pairing Jackdaws in the UK its no surprise that chimney sweeps throughout the UK are called into residential homes to deal with this particular problem.

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Under the Wildlife and Country Act, it is a offence to destroy or remove active bird nests.

When most people think of nests, the picture of a nice bowled shaped structure of twigs comes to mind, however, this couldn't be further from the truth with regard to the typical nest within a chimney. These are often made up of twigs, small sticks, moss, soil and even small pieces of litter and the quantity of nesting materials can vary hugely.

Discovering a nest within your chimney can be a bigger issue than some homeowners assume, causing dangerous blockages, chimneys fires, infestations and damp issues.

Signs that you have a bird nesting in your chimney

  • Twigs and other nesting materials appearing in your fireplace.

  • Observing birds flying to and from your chimney pot.

  • If sounds from your chimney change, i.e. If you usually hear pigeons cooing or the sound of the chimney draw but no longer can. This can be a sign of a blockage.

  • The sound of wings flapping can be a sign that a bird is trapped in your chimney.

  • An infestation of flies can indicate a bird has died in your chimney.

If you suspect you have a bird nest in your chimney, DO NOT light the fire as this could cause a chimney fire. The nest will also obstruct the passage of the gases venting into the environment from the chimney terminal.

Contact your local chimney sweep who will be able to advise accordingly. A chimney sweep will be able identify the nest, safely remove it with specialised equipment and CCTV the entire length of the chimney to ensure all nesting materials have been removed. The chimney sweep will then be able to advise on preventable measures, usually the fitting of a appropriate bird guard cowl to the chimney pot.

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