Do You Need a Chimney Cover to Stop Birds from Nesting in Your Chimney?

An owl who has built a nest in the crown of an old chimney. Birds who build their nests inside of active chimneys can put themselves and the homeowner at risk.
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An owl who has built a nest in the crown of an old chimney. Birds who build their nests inside of active chimneys can put themselves and the homeowner at risk.

Birds are adorable, winged creatures—except when they’re in your chimney.

For millions of homeowners, birds present a problem in their chimney flue. The top of the chimney is also a popular nesting area for birds.

Having birds or other critters trapped in your chimney is a recipe for disaster. Your chimney needs to be clear to prevent fire hazards and avoid health issues that can be detrimental to you and your family.

Bird problems cause damage to your home, your chimney, and your well-being.

Luckily, we have the right solution for you, which is a chimney cover to stop birds! We will go in-depth with everything you need to know, how to get started, and how to receive professional assistance.

Best Options to Keep Birds Out of Your Chimney

Installing a chimney cover is the best and easiest solution to stop birds from nesting in your chimney.

Chimney caps allow the chimney interior to be inaccessible which keeps birds out.

Some people may attempt a DIY installation of their own chimney cap but doing so is not recommended, as it is dangerous and getting on the roof using a ladder is not for everyone. We recommend contacting a professional to get the job done quickly, safely, and affordably.

Chimney caps can become more effective with additional options, such as:

  • Bird spikes
  • Scare owls (i.e. scarecrows)
  • Chimney cowls
  • Sound or chemical bird repellent

Overall, a chimney cover to stop birds is a fast solution to a challenging problem.

Installing a Chimney Cap or Chimney Cover to Stop Birds from Nesting in Your Chimney

Custom hip and ridge chimney cap.

Keeping birds out of your chimney provides better ventilation, reduces fire hazards, and creates a safer environment for your home. A chimney cap blocks birds and other animals from building nests and creating other blockages.

Other benefits of a chimney cap include:

  • Stop rain from entering your flue
  • Protects against hot embers
  • It prevents other animals besides birds, such as squirrels and raccoons
  • Reduces the chances of a chimney fire
  • Aesthetically pleasing to a bland chimney top

If you’re looking for a professional, Priddy Chimney Sweeps can install chimney caps in all shapes and sizes. Custom chimney caps are available with high-quality materials such as stainless steel. Installing a chimney cap is safe and effective with our expertise, at an average cost of $200.

If you already have birds in your chimney, a professional must remove them humanely and safely before installing a chimney cap. Some species of birds, such as chimney swifts, are protected by law and cannot be removed unless the nest is no longer active.

A bird removal expert can remove protected species in certain circumstances and advise you on the best course of action if the birds cannot be removed right away.

Dangers of Birds Nesting in Chimneys

Close up photo of a birds nest filled with eggs. Birds may build nests inside of chimneys because they seem the chimney as a safe place to raise their young.

While birds are our feathered friends, they are dangerous to have in chimneys due to various hazards and health risks.

Chimney Blockages

There is a massive risk of carbon monoxide poisoning due to a blocked chimney from bird nests or other blockages if you decide to start a fire after the birds have flown away from the nest.

Because a bird’s nest is made from dry material, such as branches, it could also cause a dangerous chimney fire.

Statistics show that around 20,000 chimney fires begin each year, accounting for millions of dollars in losses and damages. Many of the reasons for these fires are chimney blockage or a lack of cleaning. About 70% of chimney smoke can re-enter your home and neighborhood in the event of a chimney fire.

Histoplasmosis

Inhaling fungal spores from bird droppings mixed with soil can result in histoplasmosis, a lung disease that may affect weak immune systems.

High-nitrogen content mixed with the bird droppings and soil allows spores to grow, resulting in a progressive disease that may become worse if left untreated.

Symptoms are flu-like, with a dry cough, fever, chest pain, or blisters. The signs also may appear 3 to 15 days after exposure.

Other Bacterial and Fungal Infections

Many bacterial and fungal infections which can be spread by birds mimic the flu but present severe health risks if the problem continues.

Psittacosis, also called Parrot Fever, is a respiratory disease caused by bacteria found in bird droppings.

These fungal infections are airborne, which allow the spores to get into food and cause food poisoning.

Pests

Birds may also carry secondary pests and parasites such as fleas, bedbugs, mites, and ticks. If secondary pests enter your home, they can cause a whole range of diseases like West Nile Virus and encephalitis.

Why Do Birds End Up in Chimneys?

A starling sitting on the top of a brick chimney. Migratory birds may choose to build their temporary homes in chimneys and if that bird is protected by law, the homeowner must wait until the birds have left the nest to clean out the remains and put install birdproofing equipment.

Our high-flying friends end up in chimneys for a number of reasons which can combine to make an almost irresistible nesting place.

First of all, chimneys are warm and sheltered from the elements which makes it prime real estate for birds.

On top of that, chimneys without a cover, cap, or top-sealing damper are easily accessible to flying creatures.

Finally, the inside of a chimney provides birds with an excellent opportunity to build a nest with ample protection against predators.

Unfortunately for many birds, what may seem like the perfect place to build a home is not only irritating to the homeowner, it can be dangerous to the birds too.

Without a cap or cover to keep them from getting in, birds risk getting stuck and becoming trapped inside the chimney. Worse yet, if the homeowner is not aware of the nest in their flue and decides to start a fire, the birds could be injured or killed.

Common Signs of a Bird Problem

If you’re hearing chirping or scratching inside the chimney, more than likely, you have a bird problem. Feathers, droppings, nesting material, and debris in your fireplace are also common signs.

Other Tips for Keeping your Chimney Bird-free

If you haven’t installed a chimney cap yet, here are some other tips to keep your chimney bird-free:

Have Regular Sweeps and Inspections by a Certified Chimney Sweep

Regular chimney sweeps and inspections are essential to protecting your home from fire hazards and health infections. Cleaning up bird droppings from accumulating and growing fungus removes the likelihood of an airborne respiratory disease entering your home. And removing the debris from birds eliminates blockages which may cause a fire or CO poisoning.

Some of the best methods to prevent bird problems from cropping up in the first place include:

Contact a Bird Removal Specialist to Get Rid of Bird Problems

When seeking to remove birds from the chimney, it must be done safely and humanely. The best thing you can do is contact a bird removal specialist to get the birds out for you.

Some birds are protected, such as the chimney swift under the Migratory Bird Act Treaty. Once the chimney swift builds its nest, it cannot be removed, meaning prevention is the best strategy to stop birds.

Contact Priddy Chimney Sweeps for Your Chimney Needs

Ultimately, the best option to prevent birds from nesting in your chimney is to install a chimney cover. In this guide, we’ve covered the best methods and information to prevent hazards and disease from entering your home.

If you’ve recently had birds removed, consider chimney sweeping to get rid of any debris which may pose a fire hazard or health risk. Priddy Chimney Sweeps can help keep birds out with our professional sweeping and inspection services or by installing a new chimney cap.