PORTLAND -- Experts are issuing a warning about home chimneys. It's not what you're burning in it -- it's the little birds coming out of it.
A number of people in and around Portland have recently reported finding baby swifts in their fireplaces.
The Audubon Society of Portland says almost every day someone brings in what they believe to be an abandoned baby swift bird.
Right now, the Audubon is caring for more than 22 baby Vaux’s Swifts at the wildfire care center. The center says lots of people are coming in to drop off the birds or calling saying they've found them in their fireplaces.
Every year, Vaux's Swifts put on a swirling show at Chapman Elementary School in Northwest Portland. For the month of September, they roost in the chimney there.
Right now, however, they are in their breeding season and many build nests in residential chimneys.
The problem is, sometimes the babies fall out of those nests and land in the fireplace.
Experts say if this happens, do not remove them.
“All you have to do is take the bird, go up over the flue and essentially just stick it to the side of the chimney and they have these really strong ‘velcro-like’ feet and they will climb up to where the nest site is and still continue to be fed by their parents,” explained Lacy Campbell with the Audubon Society of Portland.
Vaux's Swifts are protected birds, which means it is against the law to damage or destroy one of their nests during breeding. But, if you have them, the Audubon Society says they won’t be there for long. The breeding period only lasts a couple of weeks.