What's That Sound?

by Jennifer Burghoffer

Do you think you hear birds in the chimney? What about the dyer vent? Are they stuck? The good news is that you’re not imagining it. However, the bad news is that you might have birds nesting in your home.

Chimney Swifts (Chaetura pelagica) are a specialized species of insectivores that, you guessed it, nest in chimneys. These small birds have short legs, long toenails and specialized tail feathers that allow them to perch vertically, making chimneys a perfect nesting spot.

Chimney Swifts most likely used to nest in hollow trees in the forests, but urban development has made these places less common and competition for them fierce. They responded by moving into the next best thing: open-top chimneys.

While only one bonded pair will nest in a chimney, related family members will live with them, helping to take care of the young. The nest is built against the wall, held in place by the birds’ spit. If the nest or any of the young fall, they can be returned to their parents as long as they can be placed back into the chimney on a textured surface above the flue. Do not put the babies outside. 

Blue Ridge Wildlife Center

106 Island Farm Lane
Boyce, VA 22620

Support the Wildlife Center

For wildlife concerns/emergencies,
dial our hotline: (540) 837-9000.