Every spring and summer, I get dozens of phone calls from frantic homeowners worried about large amounts of dust, soot and mortar falling into their fireplace and front rooms.
They know there’s something wrong, but don’t quite know what. Usually, it’s because a pigeon is stuck in the chimney system.
Unlike jackdaws, which build nests in chimneys, pigeons don’t as a rule seek out flues to make a home for the spring. They end up in the flue because they lose their balance when on top of the chimney pot and fall down. Sometimes, the fall occurs during mating, which is why you may end up with not one, but two pigeons in a flue.
When a pigeon falls, it will land at the first bend of a chimney which, in older properties, is usually a few metres down from the pot, just below the roof line.
These bends, which are usually at a 45 degree angle, naturally gather dust and mortar over the years from the slow deterioration of the flue system above. So when a pigeon lands on it, and tries to fly back out, it will disturb all that mortar and send it falling down the flue and straight into your front room.
Pigeons are usually too big to be able to simply fly back out, so they end up getting stuck on this ledge.
If left there, they will die of dehydration within days. The dead bird will then fall into the fireplace at some point. So it’s better all round if you can get the bird out before this happens.
The best way to do this is to call a local, professional chimney sweep. They will have experience of how to get the pigeon out in the safest and most controlled way.
Leaving a pigeon to die in your chimney is not only cruel, but could cause health hazards and also carbon monoxide poisoning.
So if you have lots of soot, dust and mortar falling down your chimney right now, do the right thing – call in a professional.
Mr Soot Chimney Sweep is a HETAS Approved Sweep, and member of the Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps, offering a professional and friendly chimney sweep and stove service in Wigan, Stockport, St Helens, Ormskirk, Chorley and surrounding areas. Book Mr Soot online or call 0800 0541154.