Once common enough across the entire eastern half of North America, chimney swifts have popped up on endangered species lists. Constrained by law since 1918, homeowners quite literally need a federal permit to remove them from their chimneys. Even their nests have to be left in place, so the trick is to stop them from choosing your chimney in the first place.
That may seem cruel; denying a resting place for migrating birds threatened by our destruction of their habitat. There are, however, ways to provide them with temporary homes that do not compromise the integrity of your chimney. Local conservation groups exist that are actively involved in creating alternative housing for them as they move along their migratory path.
Criminal Offenses Either Way
A donation to a conservation group or the volunteering of a few hours every week might go a long way towards soothing your conscience. It should be clear, however, that as valuable as they are to the big picture, chimney swifts can inadvertently ruin your own dreams. Blocking your chimney with their nests, they create blockages that can lead to inadequate drafting of toxic smoke. Not only is that a violation of fireplace system codes, but also endangers your family.
Rather than being forced to make your fireplace inactive and then having to pay someone to clean up the swifts mess, call a professional now. An evaluation of your chimney to determine how it can be less attractive to them can stop this restless bird from moving in. We are not talking about spreading repellents of some kind or being overtly unfriendly; we are simply suggesting that you not invite them in.
Make the Best Use of Your Phone Call
Something as simple as denying chimney swifts access to a metal flue liner can prevent a difficult choice. Why wait to make the call until it has to have something done that you do not have the heart to do? Home safety dictates removal if they are up there, so encourage chimney swifts to fly a little farther and save yourself grief of all kinds.