If you’ve seen a gray, cigar-shaped smudge floating through the air on a summer evening, the chances are that you’re watching a chimney swift in flight. Chimney swifts are pretty amazing little birds, with small bodies and a long, narrow wingspan. One thing that makes them unique is that they are airborne. You may think that this applies to all birds, but chimney swifts are actually airborne for most of their lives, eating, drinking, and cleaning themselves in flight. They eat insects, including mosquitoes, ants, flies, and wasps. In fact, a family of chimney swifts can eat up to 12,000 insects every day. That’s a great bird to have in the area. They can’t perch, but instead have to cling vertically to surfaces during the few times that they do stop flying, which is while they are roosting or raising their young.
Chimney swifts migrate south to Peru each winter, then make their way up north in the spring to mate and to raise their families. Chimney swifts love company, and mainly travel in groups. When it comes to mating partners, though, chimney swifts are monogamous. They will return to the same nest year after year. Because they can’t perch, when chimney swifts decide to roost, they have to find hollowed out trees or caves to build their nests. In the early years of our country’s history, it wasn’t too much of a problem to find these spots to come back to year after year, but as time passed and the country became more developed, these little birds had to look for another suitable nesting spot. What better substitute for a hollow log or cave is there than a chimney? It’s tall, hollow, dark, warm, and free from predators.
One problem with having a chimney swift set up a nest in your chimney is that the birds can make a lot of noise setting up their nest, and the babies can make a lot of noise once they are born. For a little bird, the noise level can be pretty amazing. For some people, this isn’t a bother at all, but for others, the noise is more than they want to put up with from year to year.
If you are one of those people who would rather not tolerate the noise of a chimney swift each spring, then it’s time to give Chimney Concepts a call. Although we won’t remove the birds while they are nesting to keep this species safe and ongoing, we will take precautions once they leave to make sure they will have to look for a new home next year. After we clear your chimney of the swift’s nest and any other debris we find, we’ll take care of the problem that is letting them in, which in most cases is your chimney cap. The chimney cap is specially designed to keep the rain out with its sloped roof, and to keep animals out with its meshed metal sides. If this is in a poor state of repair, or if you don’t have a chimney cap, we’ll make sure to get one that is in top condition so no critters can find their way back into your chimney.