Do Owls Nest In Chimneys?


Yes, some species of owls nest in chimneys.

Barred owls, eastern screech owls, and northern saw-whet owls are cavity nesters and may mistake a chimney for a hollowed-out tree when they are seeking a place to lay eggs

. Once the birds go down chimneys, they are unable to vertically fly back up. Therefore, it is not uncommon for owls to get stuck in chimneys, and they may require rescue. However, some people choose not to remove owls from their chimneys, as they may appreciate the presence of these birds.

What Are The Main Reasons Why Owls Choose To Nest In Chimneys Instead Of Other Locations?

Owls typically choose nesting locations based on safety and availability of suitable sites.

While most often they choose natural nest sites such as tree snags or hollows created by broken tree branches, they may also choose man-made structures such as barns, nest boxes, chimneys, and mine shafts.

According to the Barn Owl Trust, roosting Barn Owls prefer perching on wood, hay/straw, or stone rather than metal, but nests are sometimes found in the bottom of disused metal water tanks.

The type of site used by Barn Owls for nesting varies depending on the region, with buildings being the most common in the western half of Britain and tree hollows being more common in some eastern areas.

Are There Any Potential Risks Or Inconveniences Associated With Having Owls Nesting In Chimneys?

Having owls nesting in chimneys can pose several risks and inconveniences.

Here are some potential issues associated with owls nesting in chimneys:

  • Fire hazards: Bird nests can cause blockages in chimneys and air ventilation, which can lead to fires.
  • Health and hygiene risks: Birds can carry diseases and parasites that can be harmful to humans.
  • Corrosive droppings: Bird droppings can be corrosive and cause damage to the chimney and surrounding areas.
  • Injury to birds: Birds can get stuck in chimneys and suffer from hurt limbs or other injuries.
  • Damage to homes: Owls can damage homes while attempting to enter or exit the chimney.
    If you have owls nesting in your chimney, it is important to take appropriate measures to remove them safely and prevent them from returning.

    You can contact a professional wildlife control service to help with this process.

How Can Homeowners Effectively Discourage Owls From Nesting In Their Chimneys Without Causing Harm To The Birds?

Here are some ways homeowners can discourage owls from nesting in their chimneys without causing harm to the birds:

  1. Install a chimney cap: A chimney cap is a metal cover that fits over the top of the chimney.

    It has a mesh screen that allows smoke to escape but prevents animals from entering.

    Installing a chimney cap can prevent owls from entering the chimney.
  2. Use deterrents: There are several types of deterrents that can be used to discourage owls from nesting in chimneys.

    One option is to hang shiny objects, such as CDs or aluminum foil, near the chimney.

    The reflection of light can be a deterrent to owls.

    Another option is to use a decoy owl.

    Decoy owls can be purchased or made at home and placed near the chimney.

    The presence of a predator can discourage owls from nesting in the area.
  3. Delay chimney cleaning: If you have chimney swifts nesting in your chimney, it is important to delay cleaning until after the young have left the nest.

    Chimney swifts are protected by federal law, and it is illegal to remove them from the chimney while they are nesting.
  4. Leave them alone: If the chimney is unused and the owls are not causing any problems, it may be best to leave them alone.

    Owls are beneficial to the environment and can help control rodent populations.
    It is important to note that it is illegal to harm or kill owls in the United States.

    Homeowners should always use humane methods to discourage owls from nesting in chimneys.

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