How Long For A Bird Stuck In A Chimney To Die?

It’s very common for birds to fly into and get stuck inside chimneys, regardless of if it’s a working fireplace or if it’s been covered up. 

Birds don’t fly into a chimney for no reason (ok, maybe sometimes they do) and it’s most commonly because they are seeking shelter from the cold, looking for a safe place to nest away from possible prey, or even desperate to find some food. 

They’ll often find their way into the chimney easily but then become stuck and unable to fly back out. 

Birds can last for around a week stuck in your chimney, but after that their chances of survival become very slim indeed.

Whilst you may not have noticed that there is a bird stuck in your chimney, chances are if it dies, then you’ll certainly become aware of it soon. 

We’ll be guiding you through what you should do if there is a bird stuck in your chimney regardless of if it’s alive or not, and also the steps you can put into place to prevent birds from flying into your chimney. 

Why Do Birds Fly And Settle Into A Chimney?

When the cold weather creeps in, birds will find themselves seeking out warm and enclosed spaces to escape the chilly weather, especially during the night and a chimney, particularly a chimney that is being frequently used is the ideal spot for them. 

Birds will often use a chimney as a place to build a nest and lay their eggs due to the warmer temperatures that make it ideal to incubate the eggs and also because it keeps the eggs hidden away from predators.

They may also seek out your chimney as a safe place for them to hide from predators themselves.

Chimneys can also be a good place to source food for birds, as it’s home to lots of creepie crawlies and insects that birds are fond of eating. 

However, sometimes birds don’t purposely fly into a chimney, sometimes they settle on the ledge whilst they’re resting and fall there.

Once a bird has fallen a few inches from the top of the chimney then they’ll be able to spread their wings to fly back up, if they don’t land on a ledge in the bottom of the chimney then they could also fall to the ground and die instantly. 

What Problems Can Arise From A Bird Flying Into A Chimney?

A bird flying into your chimney increases the risk of one becoming stuck and possibly dying inside as well which can create bad odors and a fly issue within the room. 

However, problems can also arise from birds building their nests inside the chimney, including blockages occurring if the nest has broken and fallen or even if the nest is too big.

The nest can also catch fire inside the chimney, which quickly becomes a very serious and out-of-control situation in your home. 

Birds can carry harmful pests and bacteria and then becoming stuck and dying within your chimney will increase the chance of maggots spreading throughout the chimney and possibly into your home. 

Some of these issues can still occur even if the fireplace is currently not in use. 

Damp can also become a problem due to the build-up of condensation due to the lack of ventilation because of the nest that’s in the way. Damp can lead to mold growth which can become very harmful to your health. 

Ways To Tell That There Is A Bird Stuck In The Chimney

If you have an open fireplace, then you may have noticed some nest debris or feathers fallen into the coals or wood in your hearth, this would be a major signifier that there is a bird(s) stuck within your chimney.

However, if your fireplace has been blocked off within the chimney, or blocked off via a wall then you won’t be able to notice any fallen soot or debris within the hearth and you’ll need to look out for other signs. 

One of the most obvious signs that there is a bird in your chimney is that you’ll hear some alarming screeches or chirping coming from inside there from either outside your home or the room where the fireplace is located.

You may even be able to hear scratching or the flapping of the bird trying to make its way out of the chimney. 

If there is a strong smell or a sudden influx of flies within the area of your fireplace or above the chimney, then this may be a sign that the bird has passed away inside the chimney. 

How Long Can A Bird That’s Stuck In A Chimney Survive For?

A bird can survive within a chimney for around 7 days depending on the conditions inside the fire and as long as you don’t light a fire within that time.

However, if the conditions are harsher or the bird has been without food or water for some time before getting stuck in the chimney, then the survival time could be limited to less than 2 days. 

Birds will need food and water to survive and there is often, if not always a lack of this inside a chimney so it will be unlikely that they will survive unless you assist them.

Unless the bird is injured, then they’ll probably make some attempts at trying to escape and fly out of the chimney, but more often than not they are unable to spread their wings to fly out and will soon become too tired and weak to make more attempts. 

What To Do If A Bird Has Got Stuck In Your Chimney

If you have an inkling that a bird has managed to get stuck in your chimney, then the best advice we can give is to call a professional such as a certified chimney sweep or an animal rescue expert to come to help you out.

If a professional can’t get to you for a couple of days, then you may want to attempt rescuing it on your own, but be warned as this can become a messy job.

You’ll need to clear away any existing debris from the chimney to reach the bird and possibly remove any coverings within the chimney.

We’d recommend wearing protective clothing including gloves and a face mask to prevent soot and debris from getting all over you. 

Do not light a fire to try and coax the bird out of the chimney as not only will you probably just kill the bird as it’s stuck, but you could also start a chimney fire as the materials that are used to make a nest are very flammable. 

Will A Bird That Has Died In The Chimney Produce A Smell?

Yes, if a bird has unfortunately passed away in your chimney then it may eventually produce a smell. This is more common with bigger birds whereas smaller birds’ bodily fluids will dry up quicker. 

Even when the bird has been removed, you may have to carry out further cleaning to try to remove the smell from the area. 

How To Prevent Birds Flying Into Your Chimney

Certain laws prevent you from removing nests from your chimney during nesting season, so if there is currently one there then you may have to wait a while before you attempt to move the birds on.

A chimney cap is a useful component to keep birds from flying into your chimney but still allow you to have good ventilation.