If you have had a birds nest in your chimney in the past it is likely that the birds will return again the next year to nest in the same place. It is recommended to have a bird guard fitted when the nest is empty to prevent them returning. Often birds like to nest in chimneys, and they will make a racket talking to each other early in the morning. If they lose their home, then they may leave.

safe sweepYou should also clean out your gutters. Dirty gutters are playgrounds for bugs, which makes them very attractive to jackdaws. If you have plastic or aluminium guttering you can have fitted a mesh the entire length of your guttering to prevent this happening again.If you do this you will lower your chance of a birds nest.

The Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 is the primary legislation which protects animals, plants, and certain habitats in the UK.

Information on the legal protection afforded to wild birds in England, Wales and Scotland in Part 1 of the Act is given in these pages. However, we cannot hope to answer all specialist queries or problems on the website. For detailed information, it is advisable to consult the Act itself, which is available from HMSO.

Please also note that because of devolution there are now some significant differences in the law between the constituent countries of the UK.

Definition of a wild bird

Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, a wild bird is defined as any bird of a species that is resident in or is a visitor to the European Territory of any member state in a wild state.

Game birds however are not included in this definition (except for limited parts of the Act). They are covered by the Game Acts, which fully protect them during the close season.

Basic protection

  • All birds, their nests and eggs are protected by law and it is thus an offence, with certain exceptions, to:
  • Intentionally kill, injure or take any wild bird
  • Intentionally take, damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird whilst it is in use or being built
  • Intentionally take or destroy the egg of any wild bird
  • Have in one’s possession or control any wild bird, dead or alive, or any part of a wild bird, which has been taken in contravention of the Act or the Protection of Birds Act 1954
  • Have in one’s possession or control any egg or part of an egg which has been taken in contravention of the Act or the Protection of Birds Act 1954
  • Use traps or similar items to kill, injure or take wild birds
  • Have in one’s possession or control any bird of a species occurring on Schedule 4 of the Act unless registered, and in most cases ringed, in accordance with the Secretary of State’s regulations (see Schedules)
  • Intentionally or recklessly disturb any wild bird listed on Schedule 1 while it is nest building, or at a nest containing eggs or young, or disturb the dependent young of such a bird.


The maximum penalty that can be imposed for an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act – in respect of a single bird, nest or egg is a fine of up to £5,000, and/or six months’ imprisonment.

In summary if you think you have a birds nest in your chimney call us here at ProSweep for advice, 01626 832051 .