Every year, households face the dilemma of driving birds away from their chimneys. Birds roosting and nesting on the chimneys are both harmful for the flyers itself and the occupants of the house. Birds like house sparrows, pigeons, and more flyers can get stuck into it and die. And when these birds build a thick nest on the chimney, the smoke from the flue will be diverted back to the house which spells trouble. Knowing how to bird proof my chimney is one way to prevent this from happening.
The winter season is probably the safest time against these perching birds. The continuous heat from your furnace will drive them away but once the summer and spring start to take over, you have to do something. Birds find chimneys to be more secure against predators but it will cause problems if you don’t stop them from flocking.
Dangers of birds on the chimney
These birds seem to be harmless. But once their droppings and nests start to cause a massive problem, it’s only then that you’ll realize the threat. Never underestimate what danger these flyers can bring to your household. Here are some risks of the nesting birds that might probably send you checking your chimney.
Histoplasmosis is a lung disease caused by inhaling fungal spores found in soil and bird droppings. Since spores are airborne, even those who didn’t have direct contact with the dropping can contract the illness. This case isn’t alarming for those with a healthy body as some people don’t even exhibit symptoms. But for those who have weak immune systems, the infection can spread to different parts of the body and cause more health complications. This is the reason why I looked for ways on how to bird proof my chimney.
Some common symptoms of histoplasmosis are fever, dry cough, joint and chest pain, and red blisters. The blistering happens in about 15% of the cases which is just a small chunk of the overall percentage.
The only consolation about histoplasmosis is it doesn’t spread from human to human. But if there are other occupants in the household, he or she may directly inhale the spores and get infected.
More bacterial, fungal, and viral infections
Aside from histoplasmosis, there are other infections that may happen to those exposed to the droppings. The likes of “Parrot Fever”, food poisoning, and cryptococcosis may take place. Most of these aren’t lethal but those with immune system issues will suffer more. The dangerous part here is that some of the infections can mimic typical illnesses like typhoid fever or the usual flu.
One fact that made me search how to bird proof my chimney is that birds aren’t just carriers of diseases. They also carry other pests like ticks and mites that may soon pester your home. Since you’re not using your fireplace that much during spring and summer, these small pests will soon take over your household without warning.
When birds nest on your chimney, they will bring shreds of dry straw and leaves. This seems to be harmless until you light your fireplace for the first time after some months. Those dry stuff can ignite easily and start a fire. The offspring on the nest will die and your house might experience minor to severe fire damages.
Products That I Use On How To Bird Proof My Chimney
If you’re tired of manually driving these pesky birds away, here are some products that you can install on your chimneys to make the job easier:
1. Shelter Galvanized Chimney Cap
There’s no better way to keep birds off your chimney than building a barricade around it. The chimney cap is the fastest solution to stop rain and snow from directly entering your fireplace and the birds from nesting into it. Another thing is it doesn’t cost that much to install this. You can secure the screws by yourself and you’re good to go.
One of the best finds is the Shelter SC913 Galvanized Chimney Cap. It can be bolted in an already existing clay flue tile on the outside with the dimension of 7.5 x 11.5 x 9.5 x 13.5. Compared to inside mounting models, the Shelter outside-mounting cap gives more space and better drafting when the fireplace is in use. There are also metal gratings on the bottom on the inside part to prevent small critters from having the chance to squeeze in.
The cap is made of 24-gauge galvanized iron for a long-lasting use together with its powder paint finish that adds beauty to your roof. For such a low price purchase, you’ll get a seven-year limited warranty, an assurance that this one is for money. In case you have a flush mounted chimney, you’ll just attach a leg kit to fit this cap well.
2. Bird-X Stainless Steel Bird Spikes
How to bird proof my chimney? In case the cap isn’t working for you (which is very rare), you can install bird spikes on the edges of your chimney. It’s excellent in discouraging birds from perching on your chimney, however, this doesn’t guarantee that they won’t enter straight down. To avoid such from happening, you can place the spikes across the opening of your chimney.
It shouldn’t be just any random spike. Get one that can withstand weathering and the heat in case you want to try your fireplace from time to time. It’s best to get the Bird-X Stainless Steel Bird Spikes for the top quality. It’s one of the bestselling bird spikes in the market and is known to be long lasting despite its affordable price.
The length of each pack can vary from 10-100 feet depending on your needs. The regular two-pack version can cover 20 linear feet with five inches of width. You can place it in straight lines or bend it to wrap around your chimney. The stainless steel is flexible and durable enough to withstand 360-degree bending.
The best part here is it comes with a 10-year warranty. Anyway, you’ll have to buy the adhesive and nails/screws separately. This one worked on how to bird proof my chimney.
3. Visual Scare Owl with Moving Wings
Are the birds getting feisty and feisty with their chimney quests? The Visual Scare Owl with Moving Wings might be the answer you’re looking for. It’s a realistic owl model with a massive 44-inch wingspan size that will surely scare the invasive birds away from your chimney and roof. It’s a unique and clever way to get rid of the birds without blowing them off or installing spikes and caps.
What’s outstanding about this Visual Scare Owl is its wings are moving when hit by a breeze. It also has terrifying owl eyes that many prey birds are afraid of. This owl scare can withstand snow, rain, sunlight, and continuous weathering without needing a replacement right away.
At the back, you’ll see a crack-like hole that serves as a low-key air hole to make the owl move even on a light breeze. It comes with a mounting pipe that you can place on a protruding bar. You can also use a broom handle to mount this on your roof and ensure that it’s well attached. If you have a vegetable garden, farm, or lawn disturbed by birds, you can purchase multiple scare owls to stop the invasion now.
4. Spiroflex Chimney Cowl
Have you ever wondered about the purpose of those spinning stainless domes on the roof of your neighbor? It’s called a chimney cowl used for driving away birds and other large critters away from the chimney area. Basically, cowls are made of shiny metal that when struck will sunlight will disorient a bird. It worked as a way on how to bird proof my chimney. Its continuously moving body sends a threatening signal to any flyer that will try to nest on it.
Another purpose of the cowl is to ventilate the house without the need to use electrical appliances. But you should be mindful of which cowl you purchase for your chimney since not all can withstand intense heat. You can try the Spiroflex Chimney Cowl Spinner if you plan to buy one. It’s made of high-grade stainless steel with a construction that fits on flues with a diameter of 250 mm. You can have it customized by a third-party shop if your flue is smaller or bigger.
The Spiroflex will not gain damages even if used during wintery seasons when your fireplace is in full blast. It’s made to withstand 70 degrees Celsius in continuous use. You also get an excellent ventilation all season which is totally for the money.
5. Aspectek Outdoor Ultrasonic Bird Repeller
To level up your bird deterrent strategies, you can use an ultrasonic device as an addition to any of the products listed above. The Aspectek Outdoor Ultrasonic Bird Repeller is a good option on how to bird proof my chimney as it’s made for harsh environments and 24-hour function. This device can cover up to 5,000 sq. ft. and best if mounted on the roof. The high-frequency sound that it produces will drive away birds and critters together with its three-mode setting.
The Aspectek device uses an infrared sensor that activates the annoying frequencies when it senses a movement near your chimney and anywhere it is mounted. It’s important to remember that the device produces the sound in a forward direction with a 60-degree vertical reach and 170-degree horizontal reach.
You don’t have to worry about rainy days since the device is sealed and made to be weatherproof. It will last long but it’s not the sole answer on how to bird proof my chimney. An ultrasonic device works best if paired with another product on this list.
6. Bird-X Bird Gel Repellent
If you have installed a cowl or cap and the birds keep on nesting on top of it, you can apply the Bird-X Bird Gel Repellent. This has a long lasting formula that will stay sticky for long but without harming the birds. It doesn’t poison them nor irritate their feathers. It will just make the surface sticky so they wouldn’t dare roost on it.
The Bird-X gel is non-toxic and a petroleum-based formula that you can use no matter the outdoor condition is, may it be raining, snowing, or very sunny. You can apply the gel by using a typical caulk gun. Each of the packages of this Bird-X gel comes with three tubes all at a very affordable price.
If woodpeckers keep on pecking on your chimney, this would be the guaranteed solution to annoy them and send them away.
More Tips On How To Bird Proof My Chimney
Clean it regularly
There’s nothing more effective in stopping birds from nesting on your chimney than cleaning it regularly. That way, you can destroy the nest even before it becomes fully established or before the eggs are laid. Just be mindful of the protected birds in your area before destroying the nest. If those are for crows, you might not have a problem about DIY removal.
Get a chimney sweep do the job
Chimney sweepers are experts when it comes to dealing with stuck birds and a massive nesting. Contacting one of them will save you from the literal dirty work of driving away the flyers and removing their droppings. It may cost a fee but worth it than doing the job yourself.
Contact a wildlife remover
Remember that the likes of chimney swifts, woodpeckers, and pigeons might be protected by federal and state laws. Be careful in deciding how you’ll remove the nesting on your chimney to avoid any fines and other legal sanctions. You might be killing or disrupting the reproduction of an endangered species.
Knowing how to bird proof my chimney took a couple of trial and error with commercial products and DIY methods. And let me tell you, what I indicated above worked for me. It’s up to you to choose what you want to use for your flue.