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If you’re hearing rustling and chirping sounds coming from your fireplace, your first guess is likely correct—you have birds in the chimney. Specifically, you may have become the new landlord to a family of chimney swifts.
Chimney swifts are harmless, quite helpful to have around (they’re natural pest control agents), and will leave of their own accord. That said, before you decide you’ve become a chimney swift landlord, make sure you’re dealing with swifts and not bats.
If you do indeed have chimney swifts, think twice before you commit to removing your new tenants and don’t remove them yourself. Because chimney swifts are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, you have two legal options.
The easiest and most humane way to deal with chimney swifts is to simply wait until they leave. Here are a few reasons why you should allow these unique creatures to leave your chimney on their own accord.
For some, the incredible noise generated by a family of baby chimney swifts is simply intolerable. In this case, you may want to pursue removal. Be warned: chimney swifts are a protected species, so removal is not as easy as it seems. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
Because the birds in your chimney are migratory, they will return every year. Whether you want to maintain a symbiotic relationship with the birds or you’d like for them to find a new home, it’s best to be prepared.
An annual cleaning should be enough to keep your chimney habitable. They chose it for a reason and you’ll more than likely see the exact same family in around six months—chimney swifts typically mate for life.
A chimney cap is a wire cages that surround the top of your chimney. Be mindful, if the swifts have already chosen your home, you have a only few months of the year during which you can install your cap without disturbing them. Installation must take place during the winter, when the swifts are still in South America.
You can apply for grants and partner with a local nature center or conservation groups to cover the costs of building a chimney swift tower. This is a great way to reap the pest control benefits of having chimney swifts around without having to open your home.
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