Birds Find Your Chimney Delightful, So Cap It Up, Cap It Up, Cap It Up

Keep Birds Out of Your Chimney

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but birds find your chimney delightful, and since it’s a warm place to go, cap it up, cap it up, cap it up.

Now that temps are dropping around most of the country, chimneys are warm shelter from the elements making it prime real estate for our high-flying friends.

Birds find your chimney delightful because they offer an invitation to come inside

Why Birds End Up in Chimneys

So why do birds like chimneys?

Birds like chimneys for the same reason we love our toasty homes in the winter. Chimneys are a warm place that looks like a brick branch off your house far from anyone’s reach.

Some birds are attracted to the heat and smoke from chimneys because it does a great job clearing away irritating parasites, such as mites and ticks, from the bird’s skin and feathers.

Birds may be taking advantage of the warmth to provide good hygiene, while others use chimneys as protection against predators.

Black Vultures and other birds find your chimney delightful because the heat and smoke clears away irritating parasites, such as mites and ticks, from the bird’s skin and feathers

Birds and Chimneys are a Dangerous Mix

Some birds resting on top of the chimney might wander inside, leaving themselves helpless and unable to fly back up to escape. Once a bird slips off the edge of the chimney, even just a few inches, it can’t fly back up.

There is no room for the bird to spread its wings, and it can’t fly vertically. The bird tries to flap its wings against the chimney, causing great distress.

In the best-case scenario, the bird makes its way down the chimney spreading soot all over the living room. Yes, you have a mess to clean up, but the good news is that the bird goes on to live another day.

Worst-case scenario, the bird stays perched on the ledge inside the chimney. So you call a wildlife rehabilitator to help with its safe removal. Or it dies in the chimney.

The last scenario is not a happy thought. Still, this situation is easily preventable with a chimney cap to keep your chimney bird-free.

Christine Peyreigne, a licensed wildlife rehabilitator at Christine’s Critters in Weston, CT rescues a Barred Owl from a neighbors chimney. Barred Owls like to nest in a cavity of a tree, and a chimney is a cavity to them. Photo credit: Betsy Peyreigne

Keep Chimneys Bird-free

According to All About Birds, if you have a traditional chimney and a bird is stuck in it, try turning off all the lights in the house, leaving a door open, and opening the flue. The bird will see the light of the exit and try to get out.

If that fails, it is best to contact a licensed rehabilitator. You can find one in your area here.

The best way to prevent this scenario is to ensure every chimney and furnace has a chimney cap. Chimney caps are available in stainless steel, copper, aluminum, or galvanized steel and sit at the very top of your chimney to cover its opening.

Some people think their chimney cap is in place and functioning, but it can quickly become dislodged by strong winds from storms, leaving it open for birds to explore.

We recommend consulting with a professional chimney sweep to check that your chimney cap is working correctly. And if you don’t have a chimney cap, get one installed by a professional.

Attracting birds to our backyard is important to so many of us. But, it comes with the added responsibility of ensuring we keep birds safe. 

So when it comes to your chimney, cap it up, cap it up, cap it up.


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