Birds are just one of the things that can contribute to chimney problems in your home. Chimney swifts are particularly likely to create issues because of their interest in living on or in these architectural features. Fortunately, if you know a little about their habits, you can spot potential trouble early on. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
Basic Facts About Chimney Swifts
1. They Eat Bugs
These unique birds are larger than a sparrow but smaller than a robin. They eat insects and are often found flying around lights where moths and flies swarm. Swifts will ingest these tiny morsels and then spit them out partially digested to make them easy for their young to eat.
2. They May Nest in Chimneys
In North Carolina, swifts make their homes inside hollow areas between May and August. Instead of perching on the top of a chimney, they might create a nest a few feet down for better protection from the wind and rain. The nests resemble half a plate that is stuck to the wall. The swifts adhere dead sticks to one another with their spit to create these safe havens before laying eggs. By closing the damper whenever the fireplace isn’t in use, you can prevent birds from making their way down the chimney. You can also install a cap to mitigate the risk of these birds nesting in your home.
3. Incubation Takes Three Weeks
Chimney swifts lay three to six eggs, often in a hollow area like a tree, air vent, cave, or chimney. In 19 to 21 days, the eggs hatch. About 20 days later, the fledglings may begin to climb out of the nest. They fly another three weeks later. At this time, you may experience chimney problems as the birds could fall out of the nest and get stuck in the chimney. Listen for chirping coming from the fireplace area to indicate the presence of a bird that needs assistance.
4. They Migrate
Chimney swifts migrate every year to warmer climates. In the winter, they are often found as far as South America’s Amazon Basin or Eastern parts of Peru. They fly during the daytime in erratic patterns with fast, tense movements. If you use the fireplace during the winter, you may notice chimney problems like an odd smell and smoke filling the room as an abandoned swift nest goes up in flames. Put out the fire by closing the damper and call a sweep for an inspection to ensure your chimney is safe for use.
If you have birds in your chimney or another chimney problem, turn to The Chimney Sweep in Forsyth County, NC. Whether you need a routine cleaning or are interested in installing a chimney cap to prevent critter infestations, they have the expertise to get the job done quickly and efficiently. Visit their website for more information on their services, or call (336) 993-8999 to schedule an appointment today.