Description Chimney swifts are migratory birds found throughout North, South, and Central America. The bird's common name comes from its habit of nesting in chimneys. They travel in flocks of thousands and migrate in the late summer and early spring. Chimney swifts become problematic when their nests interfere with the use of chimneys. Appearance Most chimney swifts are small, ranging between five and six inches long and weighing less than an ounce. They are dark gray with a pale patch on their throats. When viewed from afar, chimney swifts may look black. The shape of their body has been likened to a cigar. Habitat The birds prefer to live in dimly lit and completely enclosed areas. This includes chimneys, vents, hollowed tree trunks, abandoned shafts, wells, and caves. Chimney swift nests are made out of twigs and saliva and are built right onto the side of chimneys and other nesting sites. Entry Are chimney swifts known to enter homes or yards? Homes with chimneys often host infestations of chimney swifts. The birds get into these spaces by squeezing past chimney dampers or through holes. Uncapped chimneys are even easier for chimney swifts to enter. Damage Do chimney swifts harm people or property? Lighting a fire in a fireplace with a chimney swift nest inside can lead to legal trouble. The birds are protected, and people who kill them without a license are subject to the full penalty of the law. The birds also create fire risks as their nests are highly flammable. They spread disease and destroy property, as well. Control and Safety In order to control chimney swift infestations, homeowners should first have their chimneys inspected for the presence of wildlife, birds, nesting materials, and the overall health of the flue, then cap their chimneys and seal other enclosures that might attract the birds. Individuals should also avoid direct contact with the birds, as wild animals are unpredictable. Trapping and Removal Most people contact chimney sweeps to remove the birds. However, these individuals may be ill-equipped to deal with wildlife infestations. Therefore, the best solution when faced with infestations is to contact a wildlife removal service, like Critter Control. Our trained technicians take care of existing problems, as well as offer tips on avoiding future run ins with chimney swifts.