What You Need To Know If You Find Bird Droppings In Your Fireplace & Swifts In The Chimney

Construction & Contractors Articles

There's something to be said about the coziness and warmth of a rip-roaring fire in the fireplace on a cold, wintry night. But if you notice bird droppings in your fireplace, a family of birds may have found your chimney cozy and warm. In fact, one of the bird species is so notorious for turning chimneys into their humble abodes that it is called the chimney swift. Unfortunately, chimney swifts present a host of problems when they become unwanted guests in chimneys, especially for homeowners who would love to enjoy their fireplaces. Here's what you need to know about chimney swifts if you have found bird droppings in your fireplace.

Why Your Chimney Makes an Ideal Home for Swifts

Chimney swifts have angled feet that give them the ability to cling vertically. For this reason, their nests are often found in places like chimneys and hollow trees. They build their nests by attaching twigs to vertical surfaces by using their saliva, which is sticky and similar to glue. They like tightly confined areas because they are kept out of the elements of weather and protected from predators. Their bodies are narrowed and shaped like cigars, which also makes it easier for them to be confined in chimneys.

Dangers of Swifts & Nests in Your Chimney

In addition to the bird droppings in your fireplace, you may hear the birds chirping and/or fluttering around inside the chimney. However, it's important to understand that you and your family are exposed to several dangerous risks when there are swifts in your chimney. Therefore, you'll want to avoid using your fireplace while they are there. Here's why.

  • Health. Bird droppings can contain fungal spores, especially when the droppings are in a humid area. These spores can be kicked into your living areas by backdrafts from the chimney. When you or a family member breathes the spores into their lungs, it can cause an infection called histoplasmosis, which can be more severe in infants and anyone who has weakened immune systems.
  • Fire & Smoke. Of course, with nests built onto the interior wall of your chimney there is a huge risk of the nests catching on fire. Also, smoke may not effectively escape up and out of the chimney. The blockage that the nests create can cause smoke to fill your home.
  • Fines. You could be fined if you remove the birds and/or their nests from your chimney or cause them harm in any way. The reason for this is because chimney swifts are listed as one of the protected species on the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which means they are protected by federal law.

Solution & Prevention: What You Can Do

Since chimney swifts are protected and cannot be disturbed, you'll have to wait until after they migrate away from your home before you will be able to remove their nests. Given the risk of fines, it's a good idea to hire a pest control service to take care of things for you. They will have a better idea of the migratory patterns for chimney swifts based on your exact location.

While you wait for them to migrate you'll need to avoid using your fireplace, unfortunately. Also, it's a good idea to ask a fireplace specialist from a company like Alpine Fireplaces to temporarily close off the fireplace opening to prevent fungal spores from the droppings from entering your home. To prevent them from returning after their nests have been removed, install a cap to the top of your chimney. That way, they won't be able to get into your chimney, which means no more bird droppings in your fireplace.

Share

7 March 2016

Adding a Man Cave to Your Home: Tips

I have always loved baseball, and when the world series arrives each year, I enjoy inviting my friends over to watch the games. As our family grew, it became difficult for all of our guests to fit in our living room. We decided that we needed a dedicated "man cave" in our home, but we didn't have an extra room to build it in. We thought long and hard about how we could add it, but we finally decided to turn our garage into the man cave and have a carport built onto our home to park our cars under. I have always been interested in learning more handy-work, so I enjoyed watching the contractors build both the man cave and car port. I thought I would start a blog to share what I learned during the building process to help other homeowners!