It can be very upsetting when a bird falls into your fireplace, escapes from the fireplace into your room, or builds a nest in your chimney. You don’t want the bird to get hurt. You don’t want it to die and decompose in the fireplace. You’re not sure you want to touch it. Now is the time to plan a rescue process and prepare to take deliberate action. Here are three scenarios for how to get a bird out of a fireplace along with suggestions for each:
Scenario 1: How to get a bird out of a fireplace if the bird is in the fireplace or chimney
- If the bird is in the fireplace or up in the chimney, put a lighted flashlight in a cardboard box that is nearly as tall as the fireplace, leaving enough room to slide a cardboard cover over the box.
If the bird is in the chimney, put the box in the fireplace and open the damper. If the bird is in the fireplace, remove the fireplace screen (or open the glass doors) and push the open side of the box flat up against the fireplace opening. When the bird falls or flies into the box, slide the cardboard cover over the box and take the bird outside.
- Cover the fireplace opening, blocking out all light, and give the bird a chance to fly up the chimney toward the light and escape. Make sure the damper is open.
- Open the damper and allow the bird to enter the fireplace. (If the bird is already in the fireplace, close the damper to keep if from going back up the chimney.) Throw a towel over the bird. Gently bundle it in the towel. Take the towel by its two ends outdoors and release the bird.
- Tape a very thin plastic drop cloth over the fireplace opening, leaving lots of slack to form a pocket. Shine a light on the pocket. When the bird flies into the pocket, bunch the drop cloth up around it and release it outdoors.
Scenario 2: How to get a bird out of the fireplace if the bird escapes into the room
- Turn off all lights. Close off the room by closing doors or tacking a bed sheet over any openings without doors. Open windows and exterior doors and ‘herd’ the bird outside with a broom or, better yet, with a bed sheet held high between two people.
Scenario 3: How to get a bird out of a fireplace if there’s a nest
- If possible, wait for any baby birds to fledge and leave the nest. Remember, chimney swifts are a protected species.
- Don’t light a fire. If a nest catches fire it can ignite any creosote deposits that may be in the chimney, causing a chimney fire.
- Tape a plastic drop cloth over the fireplace opening and push the nest down the chimney with a chimney cleaning brush or other suitable implement. If you’re not comfortable doing this yourself, call a chimney sweep.
- Light a fire. You would not want someone to light a fire under you.
- Panic the bird with fast or aggressive movements.
- Be afraid of the bird; move slowly and decisively.
- Install a chimney cap to keep birds and other animals out of the chimney.
- Take a shower after the bird is out of the house to get rid of any spores or mites the bird has shed.
- If the bird has left droppings in your fireplace, take extra care removing them.
Use these directions for how to get a bird out of a fireplace and both you and the bird will safely live through the event. Remember, no matter how stressful it may be to you, the bird is in even more distress.
Photo credit for image at top of page: https://twitter.com/Tammy_Linds
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