Do you ever hear a strange noise in your house? Most often it’s something that’s easily explained, like the house settling or an appliance kicking in. But if you walk in a room that has a fireplace in it and hear scratching and peeping, it’s quite likely that a creature invaded your chimney. Your chimney makes a great place for animals and birds to hole up in while they raise a family because it’s out of the wind and elements, it’s dark, and it’s out of site of predators. One such critter is the chimney swift.
Chimney swifts are remarkable birds that migrate south to Peru for the winter, then come back up north in the spring to mate and raise their young. If you’ve looked in the sky and saw a gray, cigar shaped shadow, chances are you’ve seen a chimney swift. These are relatively small birds with long, narrow wings, and they are somewhere between the size of a sparrow and a robin. Chimney swifts used to make their nests in hollowed out trees or caves, but as the United States became more developed, these structures became less available to the swifts and they began to look elsewhere. What better spot that simulates a hollow tree or cave than a chimney? And that can be a problem for homeowners who aren’t crazy about hearing birds in their chimneys.
Chimney swifts are airborne creatures who only stop flying to roost or raise their young. They even eat while in flight, getting rid of some of those pesky bugs that can drive us crazy, like flies, mosquitoes, wasps, and ants. In fact, a family of chimney swifts can eat up to 12,000 insects every day. You can see that these birds are pretty great to have around. One problem is, however, that when a mom and dad take up residence in your chimney and raise their young, these creatures can be really noisy – noisier than you’d expect for such a little bird. Another problem is that when they leave, they leave behind their nest, and that can cause a smaller area for smoke to escape and could even cause a chimney fire.
How to Prevent Chimney Swifts
Once you have a chimney swift in your chimney, it’s illegal to remove or disturb them during the breeding season under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. So once they’re in, they’re in for the season. If you don’t like the noise, your best bet is to prevent them from coming in again by installing a chimney cap. If you have a chimney cap, make sure to have it checked out to see that it’s in good repair. When you call Black Velvet Chimney for your annual inspection, we’ll take special notice of your chimney cap to make sure that not just chimney swifts, but other animals and debris aren’t making your chimney their home sweet home.