Have you ever been asked to do something illegal?
I have – in fact it’s pretty much every week from January to June.
And when I say ‘no’, some get quite huffy about it.
I’m talking about removing live jackdaw nests from chimneys.
For some, their initial reaction is, to some degree, understandable.
Maybe they’ve decided to have a new fireplace installed, and the presence of a nest means their plans need to be shelved for a few months.
Others quite simply ‘want it sorted’ for no other reason than they know there’s a problem, and don’t want it on their mind any longer than necessary.
Now, there are limited circumstances where a live nest removal is permitted – for instance if it’s your only heat source.
But these days, such circumstances are rare.
Some customers will try all manner of ways to get you to remove a live nest.
I had one a few years ago who rang up and told me there was a live nest.
So I gave them the reply that live nests are protected under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981, and therefore I wasn’t touching it.
Eventually he accepted and the call ended.
A few days later he rang again (clearly not realising he was calling the same sweep) and wanted to book in a standard sweep for the same flue.
When I asked whether it had a nest, he became sheepish and said: ‘Err… well there may have been a few birds knocking around, but they’ve gone now.’
Fortunately, most professional sweeps are fully aware of the law and will abide by its letter and spirit.
We understand that we do not have either the legal or moral right to destroy a live nest during nesting season.
Imagine if all live nests were destroyed… it wouldn’t be long before it would have a serious impact on nature.
And the prisons would overflowing with errant sweeps. Now there’s a thought!
So what should you do if you find jackdaws in your chimney during nesting season?
To find out more, check out the video below…
Mr Soot Chimney Sweep is a fully qualified sweep and a member of the Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps, based in the Manchester and South Lancs area