With the calendar having ticked over into February, a chimney sweep has issued an early warning to beware of an invasion.
Nick Menage from Bloxham has highlighted the risk of birds looking for a cosy chimney to build a nest.
The work will start in earnest in March or April, but the reconnaissance work could start any day now.
Jackdaws are big fans of chimneys and the first sign they are homing in on a possible site is when a couple of test twigs drop through to the fireplace.
In some cases the bird drops into the room during its investigations, causing a right flap.
Mr Menage said: “Having found a suitable chimney they start by dropping twigs into the flue to form a scaffold.
“They will source twigs precisely the right width to lodge in the flue and build up the scaffold until it is approximately six foot from the top of the chimney. There they will build the actual nest. If you try to light your fire with a nest in the flue, then smoke will enter the room and may even ignite the dry twigs of the scaffold.
“This is a common cause of chimney fires in the autumn.
“Worse still, if you have a gas fire, carbon monoxide may enter the room which you will not notice unless you have a CO alarm.”
The birds can be stopped by fitting a cage or cowl into the chimney and if they have built a nest in the past they often try to return to the same site.
A nest can be removed butMr Menage said: “This cannot be done in May or June since it is illegal to disturb any bird’s nest with eggs or live young in it.”
He can be contacted on 01295 722010 or at: www.wilkinschimneysweep.co.uk/northoxon