Birds nesting in my chimney – what should I do?

We definitely know it’s Spring, because yesterday we had four emergency cowl fitting requests in one day!

If you have birds actually nesting in your chimney (as in: there’s chicks), there’s not a lot you can do until they decide to leave. Once they have left though, you can swing into action.

If the birds are nesting in an unused chimney, you can make sure they’ve left (along with any fledglings), then cap-off the chimney (adding a vent, to prevent damp problems).

If however, the birds are nesting at the top of a chimney you do use (a live chimney), then the first thing you need to do is get a good chimney sweep. Birds (especially rooks) can use an enormous amount of twigs, and practically fill an entire chimney. It can take hours to clear, but if it’s not all taken out, it can represent a serious fire risk.

Once the chimney is clear, you need to put on a bird-proof cowl. We use stainless steel bird cowls, as we’ve seen birds rip off chicken wire in about three minutes flat.

If your chimney is lined with a metal liner, it is unlikely that birds will nest in it, as they don’t seem to like the hanging pot cowl used to secure the liner. If you have a bird go down your liner, we’d recommend you have a smoke pressure test to check the liner is still intact.

We charge a fixed fee for supplying and fitting cowls – do call us for a price: 01295 738 144.

JackdawA handsome Jackdaw – big fan of living in chimneys!

(Photo from


January 2014 – Day in the life of a stove-fitter

Loading up
Loading up

Busy Tuesday ahead, and Stephen’s loading up the ladders to go and install a cowl onto the chimney of a very tall house in North Newington (Oxfordshire).

Before all that though, he’s off to Farnborough on the Oxfordshire/Warwickshire border. He’s visiting a tenant in a National Trust cottage, who would like her Charnwood stove refurbished. The stove is not currently installed, so Stephen may also need to provide an estimate for installation.

He’ll be home for lunch, then I’ll be sending him off again, this time to Chipping Campden, where he’s meeting a lovely lady and her builder to discuss her GINORMOUS conversion, and how she’s going to heat it.