You may have heard noises or seen little, bat-like birds living in your chimney. Well, those creatures are not bats—they are Chimney Swifts. Chimney Swifts are amazing, beneficial, and adaptable birds. When the Swifts’ native habitat—large, hollow trees in the forests of North America—began declining through deforestation, they eventually realized that chimneys would work as a perfect alternative to roost their nests; hence, the bird’s name.
To some, it may not be such a big deal to share one’s home with a tiny, feathery friend during times when the chimney is not in use. The problem is that once the weather turns chilly and you are eager to warm up by a cozy fire, the poor chimney guests are unaware that it is time to immigrate again.
To those who may be annoyed by their chimney’s residents, it is important to bear in mind that the bird who causes chirping and cheeping sounds to resonate throughout your chimney is the same bird who consumes hundreds of insects per day, relieving you from the annoyances of mosquitoes, gnats, termites, beetles, and biting flies. In return for the sacrifice of chimney space, you can enjoy a bug-free season. Generally, Chimney Swifts are unnoticeable until their wee babies are young enough to begin chirping; this typically happens when the babes are about two weeks away from learning to feed themselves, so their noises will decrease soon.
Unfortunately, the numbers of Chimney Swifts are declining every year, which is why they are currently protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The Act prohibits the removal of the birds, their nests, and their eggs or babies. If you would like to use your chimney next winter, it is preferable to use the proper time window to make renovations to your chimney, such as when the Swifts are enjoying their vacation somewhere warmer. While the birds are immigrating south, it is the proper time to hire a chimney sweep expert who can help you get your chimney back, either through installing a simple chimney cap or metal flue liners. If you would like the Chimney Swifts to remain your neighbors, it would be safer to have a simple Chimney Swift tower installed nearby in your yard, which will also help protect the little ones.