CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps have seen it all.

From basketballs to broomsticks, industry pros aren’t surprised by what can find its way into chimneys.

While any obstruction can impact the performance of your chimney and pose a threat to safety, we think the danger is amplified when animals become a part of the equation in terms of risks to humans and critters.


Chimney Swift photo by Chuck Tague

One bird species in particular, the aptly named Chimney Swift, considers chimneys to be the best shelter around.

It just so happens that Swifts are now making their annual return north as spring begins to take hold throughout much of America, and early sightings were already being reported in the U.S. Southeast in the last week of March.

“Swifts are extremely adaptable,” say Paul and Georgean Kyle on their website, ChimneySwifts.org. “This is why, when their native habitat of large hollow trees in the forests of North America were removed, they learned to nest and roost in chimneys and air shafts.”

The Kyles are project directors of the Driftwood Wildlife Association, and they work to promote the conservation of Chimney Swifts, a species facing a dramatic decline in numbers due to loss of habitat.

The Kyles say homeowners should be interested in protecting the lives of Chimney Swifts, because the birds play a crucial role in the management of mosquitos and other pest populations throughout the summer months.

“Two parents and their offspring will consume over 12,000 flying insect pests every day,” the Kyles report on their website. “These include small things like mosquitoes, gnats, termites and biting flies.”

Swifts are a protected species. That means homeowners who find the animals in their chimneys and aren’t interested in hosting the birds cannot remove the birds themselves. Only properly permitted and qualified professionals can relocate Swifts.

We encourage you to consult with your local CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep if you believe Swifts, or any animal for that matter, have taken up residence in your chimney. Once the proper professionals have relocated the animals, your certified sweep can install a chimney cap to help prevent future critter visits.