Jackdaw in chimney

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Jackdaw in chimney

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When will it be safe for me to sweep the chimney?

Don't want to do it this (must not any way) when there might be nesting birds.  I'm tying to calculate when they are likely to be out.  The books I have seem vague.  I'm assuming because the time depend on the weather, etc, and our latitude, etc.

My alternative is to prove that there is no nest.  So I'd welcome suggestion on how to do this without the risk of breaking my neck - we have a steep roof.  Also kites with cameras are out because we have electric overhear cables just a few metres away.

How long would I need to watch the chimney to be certain that there no birds nesting.  I assume they would be returning regularly with either food or twigs if there is nest.

(I need the chimney swept early as I'm having a wood burner installed)

 

All Replies
  • Should be safe to assume if no twigs have come into the fireplace in the room then no nest but hopefully one of moderators will confirm this.Whenever i have known nests in chimneys lots of the first twigs come right down until a larger one sticks in the top and catches others.     

  • Hi sjb, welcome to the forum.

    The Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 is one of the most important pieces of Wildlife legislation in this country.

    It states it is an offence to...

    Intentionally kill, injure or take any wild bird

    Intentionally take, damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird
    while that nest is in use or being built

     

    Intentionally take or destroy an egg of any wild bird.

    If you are unsure there is a nesting Jackdaw, then the best advice is to wait until the end of August - September.

    The breeding season for Jackdaw's is April - July.

    They only have one brood so if they lay early in April incubation takes 20 days. The nestlings then fledge at 32 - 33 days, so the first weeks of June would be when you would see the Juveniles.

    If they were late breeders in July then the nestlings would fledge late August early September.

    They are numerous telltale signs to confirm nestings birds in chimneys. Debris falling down the chimney into your fireplace, sightings of adult birds bringing food and removing faecal sacs. Noise from the chicks, enter your loft and listen for calls, if there is a nest you will hear them.

    Guano and white splash on your roof near the chimney are other things to look for.

    Just to give you a bit of my own personal background, I'm a nest recorder & bird ringer who is actively involved with over 300 nesting birds. I have numerous Jackdaw's nesting at different stages, some are on eggs whilst some are feeding two-three week old chicks.

    If you are in any doubt there is a nest I would be cautious and just wait till later in the year.

    I hope this helps.

    Regards Buzzard 

  • Sooty

    Should be safe to assume if no twigs have come into the fireplace in the room then no nest but hopefully one of moderators will confirm this.Whenever i have known nests in chimneys lots of the first twigs come right down until a larger one sticks in the top and catches others.     

    We do have twigs.  I'm fairly certain the are a lot of them but its difficult to say if the chimney is full, or they gave up.  We've bee watching them from our summer house at the back of the garden. They sit on our TV aerial and sometimes our stack but I've not seen them go in, although I have seen then go in to our neighbours.

    I'm hoping that they tried filling both ours and our neighbours stacks and it was our neighbours that they filled first, so are using that.  I'm wondering how long I'd need to watch to be sure that our chimney was not being used as a nest site?  Does any one know how frequently they are likely to return with food.  

     

    EDIT: ought to also say that the twigs have now stopped and we've heard no sound from this chimney at all for the last month or so.

  • Buzzard
    They are numerous telltale signs to confirm nestings birds in chimneys. Debris falling down the chimney into your fireplace, sightings of adult birds bringing food and removing faecal sacs. Noise from the chicks, enter your loft and listen for calls, if there is a nest you will hear them.

    Hi Buzzard, that's some very useful information and answers a lot of questions I had about timescales and breeding pattern.  So far I've not seen or heard any of the tell tell signs you mention, although as soon as it's stopped raining I'm going to have another look for the guano, although if I can see none it might be because we had rain in the night.    I don't remember seeing any during the dry spell we had last week, but was not really looking - also, they sit on our TV aerial, so so they'll leave some there won't they?

    I think it's going to be easy to prove if they are nesting - I just need to see them taking in food into our stack. If I watch them for half and hour and I see birds going in to our neighbours stack, but not ours, then is that that enough proof?

    Our sweep said it would be safe by 1st September. That sound a little optimistic. Sounds like late September to be safe.

  • We have just [17/8/11] had a visit from the chimney sweep - maybe the last visit was in 2007. In the process 2 large wheelie-bins-full of twigs were brought down, but no birds. This was a serious fire hazard. We do have a cowl fitted with four narrow vertical slots, supplemented by 1''sq mesh netlon, which may not be wholly effective. Would a revolving cowl be more effective - to protect the jackdaws from the danger of nesting in the chimney as well as the risk to the property ?  

  • Hi Gaedoh, i'm assuming that the jackdaws had flown the nest prior to getting the nest material removed by the chimney sweep? If so, out of curiosity, when did they leave? If you saw the young around being tended by the parents it would be interesting to hear your observations. If the current cowl you have in place has gaps of 150 mm or larger then it would allow jackdaws, and potentially other birds in. 

    The revolving cowls certainly seem to offer a solution to this but any cowl that has smaller gaps or an effective wire mesh construction should keep the birds out if that is the desired result. If you want to exclude the jackdaws from your chimney but still provide accommodation for them, you can get nesting boxes for jackdaws, have a look at the links here and here.

  • Thanks, Ian. I have incinerated the chimneystack-full of twigs - as the heap was too large to send for recycling. (Potash should help the apple trees!)

    There was only one visible dropping, so I'm pretty sure the jackdaws had never been able to get through the cowl to nest in spite of their hours of hard work!

    From the large numbers around in the neighbourhood I don't think they need any human invention to provide nesting sites.