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Bird Nest Removal

Birds, particularly jackdaws, love to nest inside chimneys because a chimney offers a cosy, warm place sheltered from predators and the cool spring air.

How Do I Know I Have a Bird’s Nest In My Chimney?

  • If you have an open fire, one of the first signs that you have a bird attempting to nest in your chimney will be the appearance of small twigs and other debris in your fire grate. If you have a closed fire with a flue, you may not be lucky enough to get a warning of an impending nest.

  • Have a look outside: you will see the birds flying back and forth dropping or pushing material into the chimney pot.

  • Listen: if you would normally hear traffic noise or pigeons cooing while you are in the room, and now you can no longer hear it, it indicates there may be an obstruction in the flue.

A removed bird's nest from a chimney system by Samuel James Chimney Sweep
A dense bird's nest in a chimney

Why Is A Bird’s Nest A Problem?

  • Birds build a nest in a chimney by bending a twig and pushing it down the chimney until it wedges in place. Then they keep going, adding more and more twigs until they have constructed a dense ‘U’ shaped base, which they then line with hair, rags, bark, soil, straw, wool and many other materials. The nest becomes an impenetrable mass, blocking the supply of air to your fire, and causing a build-up of carbon monoxide. Carbon Monoxide is a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas which is difficult to detect. Low levels of carbon monoxide can just cause very bad headaches but higher levels can quickly starve major organs like the heart, brain and nervous system of oxygen, leading to sudden death.

  • Sometimes the weight of the nest lining and the chicks can cause the nest to slip down the chimney, making it impossible for the birds to

get enough lift to fly out.  The birds die in the nest and, as the season progresses, the birds decay and you will notice an over powering smell as well as a possible infestation of flies in the room.

What Should I Do If I Think A Bird Is Starting To Nest In My Chimney?

  • Don’t try to solve the problem yourself by lighting a fire in an attempt to burn the nest out. You run the risk of setting the chimney on fire, filling the whole house with smoke or even subjecting yourself to gas poisoning. Get a professional chimney sweep in – FAST! You need to do this immediately you suspect a bird is starting to nest in your chimney.  Once the nest is in use it is an offence, under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (punishable by a fine of up to £5000 or six months imprisonment) to destroy or remove the nest. You will have to switch off your fire and wait until the end of summer before you can have the nest removed. Get the chimney swept and a proper British Standard/EU compliant bird guard fitted for your appliance. There are different types for gas, oil and solid fuel.

Nest Removal

  • The sweep will break up the nest using a hard, small hard brush or a metal nest removal tool. Once the nest has been cleared, CCTV camera inspection will need to be carried out to ensure that there is an unobstructed passage for air and gas in the chimney.

How Do I Prevent It Happening Again?

  • It is recommended that people have their appliances checked before the start of winter. Have a properly designed cowl with bird guard fitted will prevent birds from entering your chimney and ensure they set up home somewhere safer. If you have had a problem with nesting, it is vital to get a cowl fitted as soon as the nest has been cleared as the bird will start to re-build the nest almost immediately.

What Service Do You Offer?

  • A bird’s nest can be a messy thing to clean up, but I will ensure it is dealt with quickly and efficiently with as little disruption as possible. Sheets will be placed over the fireplace ensuring it is completely sealed off so that no dust, dead birds, twigs or other debris escapes. (However, I do recommend that any soft furnishings or delicate objects close to the fireplace are covered or removed by the customer.) Once the chimney is cleared, I can fit a suitable cowl that will prevent any future nesting problems. I will smoke test your chimney and provide a Chimney Sweep Certificate. 

How Long Does It Take To Clear A Nest?

  • It is difficult to predict how long it will take as it is impossible to assess the amount of debris that has built up until the nest has actually been removed. However, I will always provide you with a professional service and will do the job thoroughly and as speedily as possible.

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