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Fire Hazards of Bird Nesting Materials

sparrow carrying nesting material

While it is quite a beautiful sight watching birds fly from a tree or building, to pick straw and hay from a distance, return to the tree and create something as beautiful as nest over time, the possible fire hazards are very significant.

The nest (typically a cup-like or circular structure built by a bird) is where it can lay its eggs, incubate them, and rear its young. The nests vary in shapes and sizes depending on the nesting material used and the need of the bird.

Birds’ nests are made in various shapes and sizes depending on the birds. Different bird species have unique ways of building and choosing a suitable location to build one. Many birds build their nests among the tree branches or shrubs. Some others want to make use of tree openings or in the earth. And some species of birds do not even build their nests. Instead, they lay their eggs in the nests of other birds. Birds make their nests from flammable materials such as straw and hay, leaves, twigs, grass clippings, etc. These materials are usually dry and light enough for the bird to pick.

Rooftops, buildings, electric poles, building vents, electrical signs, chimney flues, etc., are the sites of choice for birds to situate their nests. You may find these bird nests harmless or even admirable, but the fact is that they can cause visible damage. Still in doubt? Get a pile of dry leaves, light a stick of cigarette, throw on the pile of leaves. Stand by and observe.

Birds often build their nests on top of security lights. Sometimes, these birds even go through the trouble of making nests inside of lighted signs or other electrical equipment. With a little damage to electrical wiring or with the nature of the heat from electric devices, a raging fire might be created that can destroy a building.

With a simple action such as dropping sticks one at a time into an end of a pipe, the bird will easily create a platform to nest upon. But by doing this, it is creating a blockage in the ventilation. And if not taken care of, this can force bad gas such as carbon monoxide back into the room. When birds weave their nests in air vents, it causes an obstruction of airflow. When vents are blocked, lint begins to clog inside of vents, and the dryer will start to run less effectively. When left unchecked, it can cause the dryer to fail entirely. When such quantity of lint and fluff accumulates in the air vents, it may cause a swift raging fire. Clogging of air vents, blocking of airflow, and accumulation of dirt in air ducts are the most common causes of household fires.

Bird Nesting Materials and Fire

• Twigs: these are tiny branch ends of a ligneous plant. It is usually dry and rigid, hence serves as a good nesting material.

• Grass clipping: this is one of the most common nesting materials.

• Natural fibers: these include; cotton, wool, etc. they are soft and cool, therefore are great nesting materials.

• Straws and Hays.

• Cellophane and aluminum foils.

• Yard waste: un-raked leaves, moss, grass, straw, etc. are good bird nesting materials.

• Animal hair: animal fur being soft and cool make perfect nesting material.

• Clothing materials: yarn, ribbon, twine, lace, form nice nesting materials for the bird.

• All the bird nesting materials stated are flammable thus capable of causing serious fire outbreaks.

4 Ways Bird Nests Can Lead to Fire Hazard

1. Chimney Flue Everyone wants to see birds in their garden or the trees in the park. But the last place you want to find birds nest is somewhere blocking your chimney. Birds are known to build nests in chimneys. When this happens, it might take some time, but once a contact with the heat from the chimney is initiated, the bird's nest, being inflammable, will start a fire which can lead to unimaginable damages and losses. Birds nest are not restricted to chimneys alone. Some smaller birds enjoy the warmth and security they get from boiler flues. The narrow openings give them a sense of protection from predators. However, their safety might be putting you and your family at risk.

2. Electrical Poles Though you don’t see electrical poles in most developed countries, it is still a channel which some developing countries utilize for power distribution. Birds, therefore, possessing insulated claws find these poles habitable. Hence, they build their nests there. These power poles exhibit some electric sparks at some point, and in such occurrence, the bird's nest on the pole will be ignited. It is usually a very terrible incidence as the wires on the pole are lightened up and with almost the speed of light and keep propelling from one pole to the other. Fire tongues dropping from the wires will also keep destroying things on the ground.

3. Buildings Birds find old buildings quite habitable. So, they form their nests in these buildings. Unfortunately, smoking around or in these buildings can ignite a fire, when the cigarette butts are thrown into the nest accidentally. This could raze down an entire building and cause a lot of damage. Nests built in building vent block the lint and therefore, can be ignited.

4. Security Lights and Lighted Signs Bird nests situated on the ridge of security lights can set off a blaze. Electric or lighted signs can also be lit up when in contact with nests built into it.

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