If you are hearing noises in your chimney it may be one of two situations: a wild animal (such as a raccoon) is using your chimney as a den site; or an animal (such as a squirrel or a bird) has fallen down the chimney and cannot get back up.
Under absolutely no circumstances should you try to smoke an animal out of your chimney – you will only succeed in burning or killing the animal!
Wild animals frequently mistake uncapped chimneys for hollow trees, and they have no idea that the “tree” is connected to a human dwelling! In contrast to hollow trees, however, the inside of a chimney is quite slippery and raccoons seem to be the only animals capable of shimmying up and down it.
One way to tell the difference between a denning animal (raccoon) and an animal that is stuck (squirrel or bird) is by listening to the noise that the animal makes. An animal that is stuck is often frantic, and will scratch at the damper or flap its wings repeatedly in an effort to get out. If the damper is not closed, the animal may fall down into the fireplace, and even if he is able to get back up above the damper or onto the smoke shelf, it is important to recognize that this animal is unable to climb the entire length of the chimney.
On the other hand, if the animal is using the chimney as a den site you may occasionally hear movement, as well as the sounds of wild animal babies calling out to their mother. The noises follow a more predictable pattern, and often occur only a certain times of the day.