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How We Got A Bird Out Of Our Wood Stove Chimney

Updated on September 17, 2016

Last spring, our second one living out in the country, we heard something fluttering about in the chimney. From the second floor outside my bathroom door where the chimney runs up to the roof I heard it. Because there was no chirping, just scratching, knocking and fluttering, I assumed it was a bat, but that's subject for another hub.

I came downstairs to the main level and walked past the wood stove hearing the cafuffle again. Not knowing much about physics, I assumed this little creature was fluttering up and down the chimney trying to fly vertically out the top. I did what any wife would do, called my husband and told him there's something in the chimney and to please get it out. He looked at me aghast and said that would involve dismantling chimney and once you do that "these things never seal again...what about carbon monoxide..." and waffled on trying to disuade me with logistics.

I was not to be put off. I went upstairs again and heard it this fluttering thinking it could hear me go to each level and was following me up and down to plead its case for release. My husband logically and patronizingly said that basic physics states that sound travels further and better through anything heavier than air so the density of the chimney caused the fluttering to echo up through it. whatever is in there, he added likely could not fly vertically. He surmised that eventually it would die in there and we'd clean it out in the fall. I was mortified at something dying anywhere, nevermind in my chimney, if I could help it. 

As our wood stove has a glass door, we guessed that it was probably attracted by the light. On the morning of day 3 I couldn't stand it any more. I opened the glass door and looked up into the stove seeing only narrow vents through which I was convinced not even a mouse would fit. Closing the door I got a dark coloured towel to cover it blocking the light hoping that would cease to attract our trapped friend and went through the den to make breakfast in the adjoining kitchen. I then heard a small thud and scratching in the cold ashes on the floor of the stove. I immediately ran to get a flashlight, lifted the towel, shone the light into the stove to see a little bird so black as it was covered in soot about the size and shape of a sparrow. The air flow from the opening of the stove door must've enticed it to fight its way through those tiny vents in search of an escape route.

Squealing, I called out to my husband, "Oh look Honey, it's a little birdie, poor thing. Go get a bag so we can catch it and let it out!". Now it was his turn be mortified. He thought he was going to get off without having to get involved in this process. NOT. I went to find a large garbage bag, but found it did not fit over the door of the stove. Having just moved to Canada from Spain we had a trunk full of linens which did not fit our Canadian beds To my surprise the opening of the single bed duvet cover was too small to fit over the stove door. There was much toing and froing up and down the stairs to the linen trunk until finally the double duvet cover's opening was just large enough to cover the whole front of the stove.

Our Maple Tree

Finally engaged and convinced we could actually free this bird, my hubby agreed to hold one side of the sheet over the stove while I held the other side tightly so that it didn't escape to fly around the house making a sooty mess. With the fron of the stove covered I opened the door for the bird to fly into the huge duvet cover. It headed for a little space near my husband's hand as he, being the gentle giant that he is, wasn't holding his side as tightly as mine. We twisted ends until the opening was sealed and fanned the rest of the duvet cover about enticing the bird to fly into it which it did right to the bottom of the sewed end. This allowed us to remove the open end from over the stove, twist it closed like you would to wring your laundry and carried the bird in the duvet cover outside to set it free. It took some doing to coax it all the way back from inside the closed end towards the opening. Rolling the sewed end up as it panicked and fluttered trying to escape it finally worked its way out through the opening uninjured flying skyward with no effort at all.

We often wonder if the little bird chirping in our huge maple outside our bedroom window each morning is our freed friend saying "good morning" and thanking us for its freedom sometimes even imitating the sound of our wake up call on the cell phone. Ironically, it is I who is thankful for the honour of being in harmony with nature around us. 

Prosperous Blessings,


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      laura mitchell 3 years ago

      Viv just ran across your story on getting the bird out of your wood stove. We had the exact same situation with being new to country living. I told my husband your method and lo and behold it worked. The only problem - it was a bat not a bird and he slipped out of the sheet. We got it with a broom and it lived. Just wanted to say thank you.

    • raizhel profile image

      Ruby S. 3 years ago

      Maybe it was bird's way to say thank you because free them.

    • nathalia27 profile image

      Nancy 4 years ago

      I'm glad that you set free the bird.

    • VivBounty profile image

      VivBounty 5 years ago from Canada

      @Carol I sure hope you managed to get your bird out of the chimney safely!

    • profile image

      Carol 5 years ago

      I have a bird in my chimney. He is really getting on my nerves making all that noise trying to get out. I guess I'll have to cover everything so he won't get behind anything amd open the cover on the hole of the chimney (the hole in the chimney is where a stove pipe use to be inserted into). Don't want to do it by myself though, it may be a bat or it could be a bigger bird that may try to attack me. I'll let you folks know how my experience was getting him out. It is late now and I am going to bed.

    • VivBounty profile image

      VivBounty 5 years ago from Canada

      Thanks for your comment, Jane. We certainly couldn't leave that poor little creature there! :)

    • profile image

      Jane Howards 6 years ago

      Wow, this was a pretty cool story!

      Loved it, thanks!

    • VivBounty profile image

      VivBounty 6 years ago from Canada

      Thanks for your comment Donna. I love this story and loved writing this hub. ;)

    • Donna Sundblad profile image

      Donna Sundblad 6 years ago from Georgia

      What a captivating story. I've helped free birds who find their way into stores, but so far I haven't had to free one from my chimney! Great story. Thanks for sharing.

    • VivBounty profile image

      VivBounty 7 years ago from Canada

      @David Thanks for your comment, David! I just saw a silver fox circling a raccoon on the end of our driveway. I'm thinking the raccoon would give the fox a good run for its money! :) Our chimney is on the double story part of our home, so I'm guessing the raccoons can't get up there, thank goodness.

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      David 7 years ago

      Great story! We never had bird problems but raccoons were always getting into the chimney. Must love the warmth!

    • VivBounty profile image

      VivBounty 7 years ago from Canada

      @stove-installation-sheffield/ Thanks so much for the kudos. You weren't nearby so had to do something. :)

      @ John and a camera - Oh I do love the birds. We are loving having them right outside our window here in the country. We have one that mimics our cell phone alarm chime. I'm in awe of you managing to feed yours by hand. Yes, I'm sure they do come back to say thank you. So very gratifying and spiritual.

    • John and a camera profile image

      John and a camera 7 years ago from Co. Leitrim Southern Ireland

      Ah .. you share my love of birds and nature. This may well be the same bird. Some birds after being locked in like this develope a homing sense a bit like pigeons. I once had a pigeon trapped in our solid fuel boiler much the same as yours! When we released it, it stayed in the garden for months and we finally got to feed it by hand. Can you believe that? Anyway you can take pleasure from the fact that this returning bird may well be your bird coming to say thank you, and so it should. Lovely hub.

    • kgnature profile image

      kgnature 7 years ago from North Carolina

      Fascinating story. Thanks for sharing.

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      Stove Installer Sheffield 7 years ago

      What an excellent story! You could get a job as a chimney sweep/unblocker if all else fails. Well done for doing such a good turn.

    • VivBounty profile image

      VivBounty 8 years ago from Canada

      Thank you my friend. I wouldn't have a place to share it if it wasn't for you, TrudyVan!

    • TrudyVan profile image

      TrudyVan Curre 8 years ago from South Africa

      Hello there VivBounty. Well on your way to 30 hubs. You have a wealth of information to share my friend. Thank you

    • VivBounty profile image

      VivBounty 8 years ago from Canada

      TrudyVan, I know you love birds and I too believe they bring God's messages even if we don't understand the words as all creatures do.

      scraytaff, thanks for the encouragement, I cannot even see a plant dying. I'm insect phobic but still catch spiders in a little plastic cup and throw them outside.

    • scarytaff profile image

      Derek James 8 years ago from South Wales

      You have the same problems that I have with houses. well done for persevering.

    • profile image

      TrudyVan 8 years ago

      So glad you could save the little bird. I believe that birds are Gods messengars. Great Hub VivBounty really enjoyed reading it