Last week, we mentioned that chimney swifts are one of the reasons you might want to consider investing in a chimney cap. However, we did not delve too far into the details of what makes these birds a potential threat to your chimney. You may be torn between your love of wildlife and your desire for a clean chimney. Here’s what you need to know about these birds.
What are chimney swifts?
A chimney swift is a species of bird that resembles a flying cigar. If you have a passing familiarity with birds, you might mistake this species for a swallow in the summer skies. But chimney swifts have a distinctive, almost bat-like flight pattern. These birds spend their winters in South America, but every year they migrate across the Gulf of Mexico to roost in our area.
In the old days, these birds made their nests in mature, hollowed-out trees. The unfortunate truth is that this habitat has become all too rare. Old-growth forest is almost entirely absent from the mid-Atlantic area. You might not realize this, but most of what we think of as mature forest is actually less than 200 years old. In modern times, a manmade chimney is perhaps the best approximation of their old roosting habitat, so that’s where chimney swifts (and other critters) nest.
Can chimney swifts harm my chimney?
The bottom line is that these birds will not cause structural damage to your chimney. Nor will their nests cause chimney fires. You may be concerned that you cannot light a fire when they are roosting in your chimney. This is absolutely true, but keep in mind that these birds only roost in our area during summer. By the time you’re hankering for a fire again, they’ll have returned to South America. You just might make peace with chimney swifts.
But this does not mean that chimney swifts are not a cause for concern. For one, you may not be comfortable with the mess they leave behind. That said, you should be doing annual chimney cleanings anyway. The greater issue is the possibility of the nest falling into your fireplace or damper—a situation both you and the chimney swifts want to avoid.
What can I do about it?
If you decide that you do not want the responsibility that comes with being a chimney swift landlord, there are measures you can take. Absolutely do not light a fire or try to “smoke out” the birds. Chimney swifts are a native and federally protected species. Instead, consider hiring professionals to install a chimney cap designed to prevent small animals such as these birds from roosting in your chimney.
Call the Experts at Champion Chimneys for Chimney Cap and Damper Installation Today!
Champion Chimneys, Inc. is a fully licensed, bonded and insured chimney service company that has been serving customers in Baltimore County, Howard County, and Anne Arundel County, Maryland since 2001. Our team is trained and certified by Certified Chimney Professionals, Inc. (CCP, Inc.). Courteous service is our trademark, and our crews arrive on time in uniform, driving fully equipped trucks. We specialize in all aspects of your chimney system. Whether you need chimney and flue cleaning service or a full chimney rebuild or inspection, contact us at 443-Chimney today and let us fix all your chimney problems. Also, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.