Do you have birds nesting in your chimney?
Over the past month or so I have been getting quite a few calls from people with birds nesting in their chimney. Most people first notice this when twigs etc. start to fall down into the fire place, gas fire or stove. At least these people are aware that there is a nest in the chimney, often people don’t notice the signs and the first time they know is when the fire or stove starts to smoke back into the room when they use it. This is obviously inconvenient but more importantly dangerous as carbon monoxide is also coming into the room.
It is therefore important if you have birds nesting in your chimney, that the nest is removed at some point in the future. The difficulty arises from the fact that once a bird has started to build a nest in your chimney you cannot remove the nest until the end of the nesting season. It is an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, punishable by a fine of up to £5000 or six months imprisonment. For more information see the RSPB article. RSPB article Wild Birds
Fortunately a lot of customers are happy to leave the nest alone until the birds have vacated the nest, but some customers are disappointed when I advise that I cannot remove the nest until later in the year.
What should you do if you have a nest in your chimney?
First of all you should stop using any appliance that is connected to the chimney such as a gas fire, wood burning stove or open fire. People envisage that the nest will be quite small, like the traditional birds nest you see in a tree. The fact is that birds that like to build nests in chimneys (typically Jackdaws) will drop quite large twigs down the chimney until one catches at an angle, or a bend in the chimney. They will then continue to drop twigs, filling up the chimney until the twigs reach the height that they want to build the actual nest – often near the top. This means that it is highly likely that your flue will be severely, if not totally blocked by the nest.
Have the nest removed by a professional chimney sweep when the nesting season is over. There are a number of reasons why you should avoid trying to remove the nest yourself. Firstly, it can be a very dirty job, a chimney sweep will have the correct equipment to seal up the chimney and remove the nest with as little disruption as possible. Secondly, you will need some specialist equipment; it is unlikely that a cheap set of chimney sweeping rods alone will be enough to clear the nest. Finally, how will you be sure that you have removed the entire nest? You may well find that your fire does not smoke back and assume that the nest has been cleared, when in fact a good portion of it remains. I always inspect the flue with a cctv camera after removing a nest to ensure that it is all out.
Never simply put a bird guard on as soon as you notice birds nesting, and assume that you have stopped them. They could have been building the nest for a few days before you notice and you may simply be stopping them getting in whilst leaving a potential blockage in your flue.
Fit A Bird Guard
After having the nest removed, always fit a bird guard. Once a nest has been built, the birds or their chicks will return every year to nest in your chimney.
If you wold like to discuss having a nest removed or a bird guard fitted why not contact me.