I think the Jackdaws have started their nest building early this year, probably due to the very mild winter. I recently swept this Jackdaw out of a flue to a Villager stove at an address in Hempstead. The customer reported that the stove had been smoking and not working very well. The reason being was that this Jackdaw had fallen down the flue and was totally blocking it. Having identified where in the flue the bird was lodged, I used a pigs tail to hook around it and pull it out of the flue clearing the blockage. I then gave the flue a good sweep using the Viper and soft brush; job done!
Nest building in UK chimneys would appear to be predominantly a feature of the crow families’ nesting habits and involves them posting large quantities of varying size sticks down chimneys until the lodge somewhere in the chimney (frequently right at the bottom if there are no significant turns in the chimney). In this case the particular farmhouse chimney was 10 and a half meters tall and was filled from top to bottom with nest material. This can clearly be seen in the photo’s. The problem with these birds is that once they have found a suitable chimney for nesting, they tend to return to that chimney to nest year after year.
Interestingly, the Crow family, or to give them their Latin taxonomic name Corvidae family include; crows, ravens, rooks, jackdaws, jays, magpies, treepies, choughs, and nutcrackers. The crow family are singled out for their somewhat remarkable intelligence. Specifically, members of the family have demonstrated self-awareness in mirror tests (European magpies) and tool-making ability (e.g., crows and rooks), skills which until recently were thought to be possessed only by humans and a few other higher mammals. Their total brain-to-body mass ratio is equal to that of non-human great apes and cetaceans, and only slightly lower than that of humans.