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How to Keep Birds Away from Chimney

Chimney Covers and Other Solutions To Keep Birds out

There are plenty of different species of birds living all across the world. They are nice to watch and they are pleasant to hear. They are cute, but they can also become a nightmare at times. There are plenty of situations when homeowners have to deal with birds in an invasive manner. Basically, while you can have a few bird feeders here and there for certain birds, others may come over and cause some drama. Somehow, they find chimneys to be very attractive too.

Learning how to keep birds away from the chimney can be challenging. While they do like to hang around chimneys and rarely go inside, the truth is there are times when they need to nest. At this point, they need a safe and warm place away from harsh weather conditions or potential predators. The chimney looks like the perfect place, without knowing what kind of dangers they expose themselves too. Finding the best chimney bird deterrent is tricky because you need to understand how they actually work first.

As birds tend to nest in gutters and chimneys, they will inevitably cause a bit of damage. With time, your gutters could get clogged, as well as the chimney. Plus, they can damage the roof. Their droppings are chemically strong and will eat your materials away – just like they can ruin the paint on a car. When going into the chimney, they may even end up inside your home. Now, why do they go in there, and how can you keep birds out of the chimney?

Birds on boats

Why birds go into chimneys and bird spikes won't help

It is not unusual at all to find birds nesting in the chimney. You might have noticed the first steps already. Birds hang around the chimney. They rest on the roof, close to the chimney or on top of it. It is not just your house – but every house you see around. In theory, this is not a problem at all, but it is the first step in the process. With time, they will gain more courage and actually wander inside. Most commonly, they do it while searching for food. Sooner or later, some of them will find themselves trapped in there.

As they go inside the chimney, they will find a warm and nice place away from weather conditions. When looking for a nest, the chimney looks like the perfect option. Hollow trees represent the primary choice and if you think about it, a chimney is quite similar in appearance. Moreover, your chimney will provide warmth and a safe shelter, especially if you have not used it in a long time and they have no clue what risks they expose themselves to.

When learning how to keep birds away from chimney, you will notice a lot of people rely on chimney bird spikes. These spikes tend to prevent birds from resting on the chimney, but they can still go inside it – especially if they are small. In fact, they might use those spikes as a base for their nests – some birds use the top of the chimney to nest. Indeed, there are more options out there – such as chimney covers to stop birds, but before getting there, you need to understand how to tell whether or not birds are in.

Signs that you aren't keeping birds out of your chimney

There is no such thing as the perfect time of the year for birds to nest. There are over 10,000 species out there. You cannot find all of them in your area, of course, but many of them will hang around anyway. They will try to nest at different times throughout a year, so get ready to be surprised out of nowhere. Before even considering how to stop birds nesting in chimney, you need to be aware of the signs that they may actually be in there.

First of all, pay attention. Keep quiet and listen very carefully. As a bird will try to get inside the chimney or get out of it, it will most likely make a lot of noise. Chimneys are quite tight and no matter how small the bird is, it will still make some noises. You will most likely hear chirping noises, but you should also pay attention to scratching or rustling noises. Flapping may also be heard as birds try to get out of the chimney.

An actual sighting is another common sign. Seeing a bird go inside the chimney or getting out of it means it is already used to it. In other words, it is not just a random moment. That bird will most likely come back, especially if it finds the warm place to be great for a nest. Sure, none of these things would be real if the chimney flue was closed – or at least covered with a bird proof chimney cap. Ignore this problem for too long and more birds will join the fun.

Now, if you hear chirping noises, there might be more reasons behind them. It could be a bird trying to get out of the chimney, but it may also be a nest. If the chirping sounds are mild and high pitched, it might be a bit too late to learn how to stop birds nesting in my chimney. They are already there and they have babies. You will hear these chirping noises round the clock, as babies try to find their mother and call for food.

Finally, a foul smell is also an indicator that you might need to invest in chimney covers to stop birds. Even if there are no nests or babies in there, bad smells coming from the chimney might indicate more things. For instance, bird droppings will eventually start smelling. If the smell is harsh, a bird might have gotten stuck in there. If it has died, it is probably decaying, so you need to get rid of the dead body straight away.

Now that you are aware of the signs, learning how to stop birds coming down chimney is a different task that implies more steps.

Birds on boats

Dangers associated with birds nesting in chimneys

Birds nesting in the chimney can be quite dangerous and may cause a plethora of issues – some of them risky. For example, ignore the nest for too long and it will build up. It will block the chimney. As debris and dust gather up, the nest will harden and become difficult to remove – even if there are no birds in there, it will remain. When you use the chimney again, fumes may build up – and carbon monoxide buildups can are intoxicating and fatal. Always make sure the chimney is clear before using it at the beginning of the cold season.

Other than that, the nest can lead to various infestations. It is not a very hygienic place and it can attract fleas, mites and ticks. Once inside your home, getting read of these annoying organisms will be a challenge. Their droppings are harmful as well, but more importantly, they will attack you, your family members and pets. The bigger the home is, the more difficult it becomes to get rid of them.

Last, but not least, bird droppings can cause histoplasmosis. The respiratory affection is deadly if left untreated.

How to keep birds out of chimney – Chimney cover to stop birds

Learning how to keep birds away from chimney does not have to be too difficult. Installing a chimney cover is by far the easiest way to get everything done. Simply put, it covers the top of the chimney. This solution is not the most suitable one if birds are already nesting in there. They will have no way out. You will most likely kill them, which could be illegal – and definitely unethical. It is also an unsafe solution for your house – they will get into the home trying to escape.

The cover is more suitable for prevention. Simply put, you do not have to wait until you have a problem to deal with it. Instead, how about preventing it? Install the cover yourself or hire a professional team to do it. Furthermore, such covers will also protect your home against water. Rainwater will no longer be able to go inside, so you can prevent damage to the walls and ceiling. The cover itself is not very expensive and it will save you lots of headaches later on.

Choosing the right bird proof chimney cap isn't that hard. For every type of chimney several excellent solutions exist. Nearly all standard chimney caps provide animal protection besides the obvious weather protection. If your chimney is a masonry chimney, you have a choice for a bird proof chimney cap between square, oval and rectangular shapes. Non of them is actually better when it comes to preventing birds coming down your chimney. Just choose whatever cap you prefer esthetically, attach it with the clamps and screws that come with it and you're good to go.

If your chimney is a metal one, you have a choice between caps that are tightened outside the flue and those who are slipped into the flue to be attached there. Both options are very effective chimney pot covers to stop birds and bird nesting. The Forever stainless steel chimney cap is widely recognized as the best chimney cap to stop birds like woodpeckers and crows. With this chimney cover brand birds will have no chance whatsoever to nest or come into the chimney flue.

Scare tactics to stop birds nesting in chimney

Scare tactics can be an efficient – yet temporary – solution when learning how to keep birds away from chimney. Have you seen a bird going inside the chimney? Have you heard any funny noises coming from the chimney? You want to start early, before the bird decides the place is excellent for a nest. As soon as the bird gets in, try to scare it out.

There are more ways to push birds out of the chimney. You can make some loud banging noises, such as smashing some pots. You can also get a bright light – such as a flashlight – and shine it up the chimney. Such techniques may panic birds. If they cannot find their way out, they will just get tired and keep resting. Avoid trying to scare it away then. Give it a few hours and try again. You do not want it to get stuck and die inside the chimney.

Birds nest in chimney removal

This option is quite sensitive. It would have never happened if you had a chimney bird guard, but it is too late now. There is already a nest in there and you want to get rid of it. At this point, you have two different options – legal and moral.

The first option implies waiting. A few babies and a mother will not ruin your home. Instead, you can provide a warm and safe shelter away from predators and weather conditions. These babies will grow up in no time and will go away. Once they are out, make sure you get some chimney covers to stop birds. Do not install a woodpecker on the chimney cap before all the birds are out, as they will be stuck in there and die. Once every individual is out, cover the chimney. Otherwise, the mother will return when nesting.

The other option to remove a nest does not involve waiting. Removing the nest may seem like a good plan, but you require proper care and attention. In fact, unless you are experienced with such things, you should not be doing it yourself.

There are a few reasons why. First, there are lots of laws protecting various species of birds – even common species. You have no idea what you can do, so it is better to be on the safe side of the law – simply let the babies grow and fly away.

If you cannot wait, seek help from a bird protection agency. There will be a few in your area and they can advise you accordingly. Some of them may send professionals to your home to remove the nest and relocate the babies to a safe place. Some others will advise you to wait – it depends on the species and the laws.

Doing everything yourself is a bad idea because you might be breaking the law. Furthermore, some birds carry specific pathogens and parasites. Therefore, getting in touch with them can expose you to unnecessary health-related risks.

Final words

As a short final conclusion, learning how to keep birds away from chimney is not as difficult as it may seem. Chimney covers to stop birds are extremely common today and come in all kinds of shapes and sizes – many of them are built on purpose or provide full customization.

If birds have already nested in your chimney, your solutions vary a little. Depending on the species or your morals, you might need to reach to a professional to remove the nest without killing babies. On the same note, there are situations when waiting is the best thing to do. Let the babies grow up and fly away before removing the nest and covering the chimney for prevention.​

chimney bird proof cover

Written by James Laverne

April 16th 2021

Avatar author James Laverne

Hi, I'm James! With over 25 years of anti-pest experience, I am writing this blog to help you birdproof your home. Get in touch if you have any questions. Happy reading!


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