Can you sweep a chimney with birds nesting?

Chimney sweeping is a crucial aspect of home maintenance that many homeowners tend to overlook. We ensure that your open fire can operate efficiently and safely. Birds love a chimney – it provides them with a sheltered and safe place to build a nest for thier eggs. However, issues can arise when birds are nesting as they are protected under several laws and industry regulations. So, can you sweep a chimney with birds nesting?

The short answer is no. During the bird nesting season, which generally runs from March to August, it is an offence to destroy or remove a nest, under the Wildlife and Country Act. It is necessary to wait until the end of August before checking that the nest is empty and can be removed.

Legal regulations for sweeping chimneys with birds nesting

Sweeping chimneys with bird nests present unique challenges. Safety is paramount for both chimney sweeps and the birds themselves. Additionally, there are legal considerations regarding the removal of nesting birds, as many species are protected by law.

In the UK, several laws protect nesting birds, making it illegal to disturb or harm them. The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 makes it an offence to intentionally take, damage, or destroy the nest of any wild bird while it is in use or being built. This includes nests found in chimneys.

Therefore, if birds are nesting in your chimney, you must wait until the nesting season is over before taking any action to remove the nest or clean the chimney. The nesting season typically runs from around March to August, but this can vary depending on the species of bird.

Homeowners and chimney sweeps must familiarise themselves with these regulations to avoid legal repercussions.

Why do birds nest in chimneys?

Birds are attracted to your chimney for various reasons, from shelter and warmth to protection from predators. While it may seem harmless at first, birds pose a far bigger risk than people assume. A bird’s nest can lead to dangerous blockages, chimney fires, parasite infestations and dampness.

Can you sweep a chimney with birds nesting?

Signs birds have nested in your chimney

If you suspect birds might be nesting in your chimney, here are some signs to look out for:

Methods of dealing with bird nests

When dealing with bird nests, hiring a professional chimney sweep is recommended. As qualified experts, we have the necessary equipment to safely remove nests and clean chimneys without harming the birds.

While the simple solution of climbing onto the roof and removing the nest is appealing, a bird’s nest must be removed from below, via the chimney. Often, there is a huge amount of material that may have built up over the years – I’ve personally seen full chimney stacks!

If you haven’t received the proper training there is a huge amount of risk involved. Any blockages left behind can snowball and easily lead to a chimney fire.


Prevention methods for bird nests

Preventing birds from nesting in chimneys is the most effective approach. Installing bird cowls and chimney caps if the chimney is no longer in use will deter birds from entering.

If you have a bricked-up fireplace that isn’t in use, a more permanent solution would be a capping cowl which blocks the chimney top off.

Prevention methods for bird nests should be sized and installed by a professional. This ensures that the installation is conducted safely, the guard is effective against birds and the structural integrity of the chimney is maintained.

Get in touch with me

When birds decide to nest in chimneys, it can present challenges for both homeowners and chimney sweeps. In the UK, where bird populations thrive, this is a common issue faced by many households!

Give me a call at 01435 408100 or email to schedule your chimney sweep appointment today. I look forward to hearing from you.