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Chimney Swifts

Chimney swifts
Chimney swifts
Swift solutions

Our Chimney Swift Solutions


Based on our inspection, we will determine exactly what bird control method will rid you of your chimney swift problem and implement it quickly and efficiently. We use many different methods of bird control so that we can ensure you are getting exactly the type of control you need. Select the options below if you are interested in learning more about the control methods we use.

Chimney Swift Control Specialists

How to Keep Chimney Swifts Out of Your Chimney

A chimney with a damaged chimney cap presents the easiest and most common means by which Chimney Swifts can gain entrance. Swifts are very small in size and a shifted or ill-fitted chimney cap, may serve as a loophole for them to fit through. Before a small issue turns into a major problem it is good you quickly repair any damage that must have been found in the chimney.

It is expedient to have your chimney regularly inspected to look for damage to the chimney cap and other constituting components. A thorough chimney inspection can help keep swifts from invading your home by evaluating the condition of the chimney.

If you have had swifts in the past, and want to bird proof your chimney, it is important to ensure that your chimney is well protected and repaired from all damages because Chimney Swifts are migratory birds that are often known to return to the same nesting grounds yearly. Your chimney can become a usual nesting ground for Chimney Swifts every year if you fail to repair and protect it.
When properly fitted, and installed, a chimney cap will not only exclude birds, but will also provide additional benefit of pest proofing it from other wildlife too. 

Chimney Swift Removal


What can be done to swifts in your chimney? Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done to Chimney Swifts in a chimney. Alongside other birds that are under the protection of the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act, it is a federal offense to cause harm remove or damage the nests of Chimney Swifts while the hatchlings are still in them. Under this law, you can only get rid of their nests after the hatchlings have left.

Fortunately, Chimney Swifts are one of those few birds with the shortest nesting cycles which takes less than 6 weeks from the time of nesting to the time of departure for hatchlings. As regarding swifts in chimneys, there are some simple rules that can be applied.

Do not perform your annual cleaning until the last of the hatchlings has left the nest. Although there may be noises from the young birds during their quest for food, these should be tolerated as they are only temporary.

If swifts are in occupancy earlier in the season, it is best you ask your chimney sweep to return in the fall. Every professional sweep should be aware of the fact that they can be fined or penalized for intentionally destroying birds or nests with young or eggs in them. Especially that of swifts which are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

The best way to get rid of chimney swifts is to prevent them from nesting in your chimney in the first place. If swifts are already nesting in your chimney, you will need to get a permit to have them removed. Chimney swifts are protected under the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act and it is illegal to move them yourself or destroy the nest.

Click here or call AviAway at 844-247-3373 to set up a free bird control consultation. Our experts will personally walk you through the best bird control methods for your specific situation and come up with a solution that works for you.

We think about what you need when developing a custom plan for your chimney swift problem. We take several factors into consideration, inlcuding:

  • How long has the chimney swift problem been going on?

  • How severe is the chimney swift problem?

  • Are there available food and water sources nearby?

  • What type of damage are the birds causing?

  • Are there any liability issues due to the bird infestation? 


About Chimney Swifts

Chimney swifts are a variety of swift found in North and South America. They are typically 5-6 inches long with an 11-12 inch wingspan and weighing around 1 ounce. The chimney swift's wings are short and triangular, allowing it to hover. The diet of chimney swifts consists of insects that can be caught at high speeds in the air.

The chimney swift is found year-round throughout its range. Depending on the subspecies/region, they migrate south for winter or sometimes stay all year. In North America, they breed from May to July. Chimney swifts build their nests out of saliva and twigs, which






Common Names:




C. Pelagica

Chimney Swift

they attach to the inside of chimneys, towers, or other man-made structures. They lay 2-5 eggs and both parents help care for the young.


The chimney swift is a common bird found in chimneys and vents. They typically nest in chimneys but will sometimes use other openings in buildings. Chimney swifts are very graceful in flight and can spend much of their time catching insects on the wing. They also ride air currents like weather fronts.

Chimney swifts are sometimes seen as a nuisance because they build nests in chimneys and other openings in buildings. In some cases, they can accumulate so many nests that they block the chimney or other opening. However, chimney swifts are sometimes beneficial to have around because they eat a lot of insects.

Evolutionary Traits

Chimney swifts in chimney


Chimney swifts are categorized as apodiforms because of their wing structure and bones adapted for flight. These adaptations allow chimney swifts to fly at breakneck speeds and perform complicated aerial maneuvers.

Naturally, Chimney Swifts nest in trees but due to the destruction of many forests, chimneys have become their primary nesting grounds. Unfortunately, this effect can adversely affect your chimney and even expose your home to diseases and bacteria. These birds are naturally exposed to a wide range of microorganisms during the course of their long-distance travels through a variety of habitats.

After chimney swifts breed, they leave to go south for the winter. They will leave colder regions starting in August through October and will return to their previous habitation around April. They will often migrate together in flocks and roosts.



The chimney swift's diet consists of insects caught on the wing. They will sometimes catch larger prey such as moths and dragonflies by snatching them out of the air. Chimney Swifts are extraordinary insect-eaters. This bird species can consume about 1/3 of its body weight in insects daily.  They have wide flat beaks which they use to feed their young, probe for food, kill prey, manipulate objects, and court. Apart from coming down to feed their young and to roost, they often spend most of their time in the air. While in flight, these birds do everything they can to survive - from breaking twigs off trees to building nests and catching insects for food.

Behavioral Traits


The chimney swift is found in chimneys and vents. They are common birds that get their name because of this. Their nests are often built inside chimneys, using other man-made structures such as towers or vents. In some cases, they can accumulate so many nests that they block the chimney or other openings. Chimney swifts can be distinguished from similar birds by their short, triangular wings and dark brown upper parts.

The chimney swift is a very graceful bird and can spend much of its time catching insects in the air. Chimney swifts can fly up to 500 miles a day and catch thousands of insects in a single day. They also ride air currents like weather fronts.

Chimney swifts are flock animals. They hunt in small groups, migrate in flocks of up to 20 birds, and sleep in communal roosts of hundreds or thousands of birds. If chimney swifts are in a residential chimney, however, it's likely to be just one nest.

Evolutionary Traits

Life Cycle



The chimney swift lays 2-5 eggs and both parents help care for the young. The chimney swift's nest is built out of saliva and twigs, which it attaches to the inside of chimneys, towers, or other man-made structures. Chimney swifts typically nest in chimneys but will sometimes use other openings in buildings. The chimney swift catches insects while flying to provide food for its young. Its wings are adapted for speed and maneuverability, which allows it to catch prey while in flight. In some cases, they can build nests so many that they block chimneys or other openings.

Chimney swifts are monogamous. They will often mate with the same mate for eight or nine years.

Nesting Behavior


The chimney swift builds its nests out of saliva and twigs, which it attaches to the inside of chimneys, towers, or other man-made structures. Chimney swifts typically nest in chimneys but will sometimes use other openings in buildings. They can form bigger colonies in vents and larger, commercial chimneys. Chimney swifts will often reuse the same chimneys for nesting. In some cases, they can build so many nests that they block chimneys or other openings.

Nesting Material

Egg Description

ruler in centimeters
Chimney swift egg






Brood Size: 



1.5 - 2.2 centimeters


16 - 21 days

3 - 5 eggs

1 - 2 times per year

Chimney swift egg
Chimney swift egg


The chimney swift uses saliva and twigs to build its nests. It attaches the nests to the inside of chimneys, towers, or other man-made structures. Its saliva makes the nest very solid and protects it from high winds. The birds prefer to make their nests in dark, enclosed spaces, like chimneys and air vents.

Swift Nest.webp
nesting location

Maturity & Lifespan


Chimney swifts generally live to be about five years. The longest-lived chimney sweep lived to be 14 years old. Like other birds, many chimney swifts die as infants from predators. The number of chimney swifts that die as infants is estimated to be around 30%.

Life Cycle

Chimney Swift Distribution in North America

Typically, this bird species will migrate to is original nesting location year after year in the later parts of March, as the weather gets warmer.  The swifts will not return to the south (South America) to migrate until beginning to mid-November when the weather starts getting colder with more frequent frost.  

Chimney Swifts are commonly known as chattering birds. They are almost constantly aloft with their cigar-shaped bodies clearing insects out of the sky. Before migrating throughout North America to nest in the spring and summer, these small gray and brown birds often spend their winters in South America. They can also be identified by their unusual “jerky” flight patterns and distinct calls.



Distribution Map

The Trouble With Chimney Swifts

Residue buildup is one of the major problem homeowners face with swifts in their chimney. Apart from the problems that are associated with this menace, chimney pests are also a common problem. If you have swifts inside your chimney, you stand to be visited by a number of critters. These smaller nuisances can find their way into your chimney.

No doubt, Chimney Swifts have a penchant for building nests in chimneys. Unfortunately, you will more likely be stuck with a swift when it finds its way into your chimney. Chimney Swift chicks can hang about the nest for about 2-3 weeks. It is important to note that if the baby chick birds are making a feeding call, they are not capable of flight yet.  These little brownish black birds are a kind of vocal little buggers which any homeowner can find to be quite annoying.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much that can be legally done about this because they are classified as “Threatened” species. Without a federal permit, you cannot remove a migrating bird of this kind. They are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
Worst of all, they have the tendency to return to the same location the following year with a large flock. There activities in your chimney would not only ruin the smokestack but could create safety hazards for you and your family.


Chimney Swift Problems
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