Birds Nesting in Chimneys
The most likely bird to nest in a chimney is the Jackdaw, pictured above, this is a small, black crow with a distinctive silvery sheen to the back of its head. The pale eyes are also noticeable.
They build a nest by dropping or pushing twigs down the chimney. If the chimney is small enough they will bend the twig in the middle as they push it down the flue with the hope it will wedge itself in place or catch further down the chimney. More and more twigs and debris are added until a base for the nest forms.
As the nest reaches the top of the flue softer material such as horse manure, moss, grass, hair and fur is put in place where the eggs will be laid. This upper layer often forms a solid dung/twig/grass ball which is incredibly hard to break.
Birds that nest in your chimney are very likely to return again the next year to nest in the same place. It is highly recommended to have a bird guard fitted when the nest is empty to prevent them returning. This is a service I can perform upon request.
What to Do
A nesting bird is protected by law, further explained on a separate page. You must never light a fire and “burn the nest out”. You run the risk of setting the chimney on fire or filling the whole house with smoke. If it is in the early stages then get a chimney sweep in immediately you suspect nesting is taking place.
I can remove a nest but it is a very physical and time consuming job, producing a surprising amount of debris to be bagged up and removed. But this cannot be done if the nest is active.