Chimney swifts are a common site in North America, particularly the Midwest and eastern states, each summer. These birds spend their winters in Peru then return north in early March to nest. Usually their nests are in place from May through November. If your home has a chimney, it’s important that you understand chimney swifts. Here’s what you need to know.

Identifying Chimney Swifts

Understanding Chimney Swifts - Asheville, NC - Environmental Chimney ServiceChimney swifts can be seen swooping through the skies as they eat mosquitos and other insects each evening. They have distinct cigar-shaped bodies that measure about 5 inches when they’re at rest. In flight, you’ll see a 12-inch wing span, squared tails and rapidly moving wings. The best way to identify a chimney swift, however, is to watch where it roosts. At dusk, chimney swifts duck back into homeowner’s chimneys to shelter for the night. That’s because the aptly named chimney swift builds its nests on protected vertical surfaces. They nest in hollow trees, but with fewer natural outdoor habitat options, swifts now take shelter in chimney flues. 

Dealing With Swifts in Your Chimney

If swifts have made a home in your chimney, you will be left to cohabitate with the swifts until they choose to leave the nest and head south next winter. Chimney swifts are protected under the Migratory Bird Act making it illegal to disturb a chimney swift nest. While the swifts are in residence, you might here the rustling of their wings as they come and go, and the chirping of their young when they hatch. The good news is that chimney swifts should not cause any permanent damage to your chimney flue. After their exit, call a certified chimney sweep to remove the nest, droppings, and debris. We will ensure the birds caused no damage to your chimney system.

Keeping Swifts Out of Your Chimney

The best way to deal with chimney swifts is preventing their initial entry. Fit your chimney with a sturdy cap that includes a wire cage to keep out animals, bats, and birds such as chimney swifts. This will keep your chimney safe from any unwanted residents that can cause damage or dangerous clogs within the chimney, or that could become trapped within the chimney flue.

If you need help with chimney swifts — whether it’s identifying swifts within your chimney, cleaning up after a swift infestation or installing a cap to keep swifts and other animals and birds out of your chimney — call Environmental Chimney Service! Our professional technicians protect your chimney from swift and animal intrusion while properly and efficiently cleaning up after them in the event of an intrusion.