BIRDS and CHIMNEYS. Why a chimney cowl could save more than the lives of birds.
Many species of bird like chimneys. In the winter time or on colder days, the birds enjoy the warmth they supply as households stoke up a log fire or turn on their gas fire. Gathering on the rooftop or perching on the chimney brim.
Birds also like the perfect sized, ready made support structure...perfect to build a nest all other birds would be jealous of.
The chimney area is teaming with warmth loving beetles and bugs...a great place for a bird buffet!
The chimney is a potential death trap...
and not just for birds...
A chimney without a cowl can be deadly. Birds fall down them, with causes being high winds, squabbles and fighting, unstable nests, illness or injury and courting. Some adults will even attempt to fly down chimneys in order to still try and feed fallen young, who then themselves become trapped.
Thousands die a slow painful death, often from dehydration/starvation or scorching
A lucky few get saved
However, what about you, the homeowner? the tenant?
You're not necessarily safe either.
If you have an undamaged cowl installed...Relax, you're reasonably safe (please always remember to have your chimney swept periodically).
If you don't have a cowl installed? You're in danger.
The next time you light a fire, consider the amount of ignitable debris that could be in your chimney...straw, hay, feathers, dried moss, twigs, and gases from accumulating bird poop A great concoction for something greater than just a nice warm glow in your lounge!!
Smell? The accumulation of bird droppings, carcasses, rotting left overs from the carrion crow's last 200 meals?! Yuk!
and if that isn't enough to make you think about having cowls installed...
A nesting bird or an old nest atop your chimney will block the opening. Should you use your fireplace for any reason this will prevent poisonous Carbon Monoxide gas from escaping into the atmosphere and instead sending it on a disasterous course, back into your living quarters. Slowly poisoning you without you even knowing.
Stay safe, Cover up!
(Please make use of a chimney sweep to ensure your chimney is clear prior to lighting, especially if after a period of no use)'
Thank you . Kay, IOW Wild Bird Rehab Wally AWOL
NESTING... HELPING OR HURTING?
Many people are not aware of the dangers associated with one's supposed good deed of leaving out materials to help nesting birds.
Cut hair, cut fabrics, string, soft knitting wools and tumble dryer lint are believed by many to be good nesting material sources for birds. People are proud to have helped nature...
Sadly, this is one of the largest causes of something typically known as 'string foot' :-(
Thin threads (twine, string, cotton and hair) can get wrapped around the legs and toes, all too frequently leading to deep cut wounds, arterial strangulation, infections, gangrene and subsequently loss of toes, legs or even loss of life due to sepsis. Tumble dryer lint can also contain harmful chemicals used in our washing cycles and retain moisture making it doubly unsuitable for nesting material.
Those birds with 'stumps' or hobbling around in town with nasty looking feet, most likely have or suffered a 'string foot' injury.
The same types of materials can also become entangled around beaks, necks and feathers or sometimes even partially or fully consumed, potentially causing choking and internal blockages.
Birds typically nest using materials such as *small twigs
*a few collected hairs from clumps of animal fur (such a sheep's wool or horse hair snagged on barbed wire)
*cut grass/hay and straw.
Some small amounts of animal short furs are OK (not cat because of a deadly bacteria known as pasteurella). Even horse hair can tangle although more rarely. Do not use fur from long coated dogs and certainly not human hair. Of course, birds will readily use these if found in nature but we can reduce hazard by not purposely supplying large quantities of it in big clumps post grooming.
In the same way we may want to prevent sea creatures consuming plastic by not littering, we can prevent birds becoming crippled and sick also by not littering.
Bird feeders can be filled with the natural materials listed above. It's still helping them out by having all they need in one place, saving them time and energy.