Why care about Chimney Swifts?
Chimney Swifts have declined significantly in recent decades and need our assistance more than ever. In 2009, our northern neighbor, Canada, listed them as Threatened. Why?
- Because of changes made to our landscape and the loss of historic habitat, swifts rely almost entirely on man-made structures for nesting and roosting sites. Our chimneys are their homes.
- Chimney Swifts eat nearly a third of their own weight in flying insects, including pests, every day.
- Chimney Swifts are protected by law under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1916.
- Chimney Swifts’ aerial acrobatics and interactions have aesthetic value; observing them is a simple pleasure of nature.
Resources for chimney sweeps and masons
The Wisconsin Chimney Swift Working Group is partnering with chimney sweeps and masons whose customers are in Wisconsin.
The goal of the partnership is to identify chimneys currently in use by swifts and to enlighten customers on how to maintain the structures to benefit the species. Chimney sweeps and masons are on the front lines of identifying occupied chimneys and interacting with homeowners.
Awareness of Chimney Swifts and the chimneys they use is key to protecting the species. In pre-colonial times, swifts nested and roosted in large hollow trees. Later, as land was cleared for settlement and agriculture, most of these old trees were cut down, and swifts adapted to using chimneys. Now the Chimney Swift depends almost entirely on masonry chimneys for nesting and roosting habitat.
Swifts nest one pair to a chimney, and a pair nests in the same chimney each year. New construction design typically does not include chimneys suitable for swifts, and existing chimneys are being capped, reducing nesting habitat.
Free educational materials are provided to chimney sweeps and masons who are interested in working with the working group. In addition, working group members are available to help businesses and their customers concerning questions or issues that may arise.
Chimney sweeps and masons:
Brookfield: Contractor-X Masonry Division, (414) 519-1900
Cedarburg: Chimney Concepts, (262) 377-5811
Cambridge: Cam Rock Masonry LLC, (608) 444-6995
Chippewa: Falls B & M Masonry and Repair, (715) 210-0827
Columbus: Daizy Sweeps, Inc., (920) 386-9563
Eleva: Soot Loose Chimney Sweep, (715) 878-4706
Madison: Badger Chimney, (608) 244-6639
Menasha: The Chimney Guy LLC, (920) 830-1920
Menomonie: Sax Chimney Sweep Service, (715) 235-6044
Milwaukee: All for One Chimney, (414) 600-3845; Carlson’s Chimney, (414) 774-6955; Chimney Doctors, (262) 784-8000
Neenah: Advanced Chimney Specialists LLC, (920) 727-9166
Oconomowoc: Rock River Chimney and Foundation LLC, (262) 354-5090
Oostburg: Eernisse Chimney Repair and Tuck Pointing, (920) 564-6186
Racine: Midwest Chimney Service, (262) 770-5492
Reedsburg: Kosak Chimney and Stove Service, (608) 768-1776 or (715) 693-6564
Schofield: Schofield Foundation and Chimney Restoration, (715) 571-5613
Spring Valley: Tim’s Top Hat Chimney Sweep and Service, (800) 854-1788
West Bend: LifeTime Chimneys, (262) 377-4066
Chimney swifts are disappearing in Wisconsin; fixing up your home is one way to help (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 14, 2020)