Dealing with a bird in a chimney or fireplace can be a stressful situation, not only for you but for the bird as well. Birds resting or nesting atop the chimney sometimes wander inside it, unable to fly back up to escape. Freeing the bird may take some time; being quiet and patient during the process will help coax the bird where you want it to go so you can get it out of the house, back outdoors, safe and happy once again.
Things You’ll Need
- Large box that snugly fits inside fireplace
- Stiff cardboard sheet larger than the box opening
- Face mask
1. Look inside the fireplace to locate the bird. If the bird is in the chimney rather than the fireplace, open the fireplace damper.
2. Place a large box, open side up, inside the fireplace opening. Prop the box up on the fireplace grate or another box, if necessary, so there is only about an inch between the box opening and the top of the fireplace.
3. Pull the box back out slightly and turn on the flashlight, setting the light inside the box. Push the box back into place in the fireplace.
4. Silence external noises in the room, such as music or a TV, as well as conversational voices. Wait in the silence until the bird enters the box.
5. Slide the cardboard sheet gently over the box opening, trapping the bird inside. Gently remove the box from the fireplace, taking the box and bird outdoors. Remove the cardboard top from the box to set the bird free.
6. If the bird is already in the fireplace, close all doors leading to the room. If halls and entryways do not have doors, cover the openings with sheets held in place with thumbtacks. Open one window and screen or an exterior door, in case the bird gets into the room.
7. Open the fireplace screen or door slightly. Slowly toss a towel over the the bird to trap it. Grab the ends of the towel to trap the bird inside the towel. Carry the towel gently outdoors, releasing the bird.
8. Dim the lights in the room if the bird escapes the fireplace. Guide the bird toward the open window or door with the broom. If it’s dark outside, turn on an exterior light so the bird can find the exit.
Choose a box that fits the fireplace opening without much room around the sides to avoid the bird traveling or getting trapped between the box and inner fireplace walls.
A fishnet with small holes can be used in place of a towel to trap a bird in a fireplace.
Ensure that the trapped creature really is a bird and not a raccoon or another wild animal before trying to catch it. A bird creates flapping and scratching sounds. Call a professional if dealing with another wild animal.
If birds are nesting in the chimney, as evidenced by the sound of baby birds calling out for food, they’ll be ready to leave the next in a couple weeks. Do not disturb the nest during this time, as some species such as chimney swifts are protected by law. Birds of flying age may escape on their own. A professional chimney sweep can remove the nest after the birds vacate it. Cap the chimney to prevent them from nesting there in the future.
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