Thursday, May 1, 2008
A few weeks back there was an odd sound in our fireplace. It appeared to be coming from just above the closed flue.
It was obviously a bird. And it sounded as if it was rapidly flapping its wings and could not get out.
Rather than making a rescue attempt at the time, and having a bird fly around inside the house, I figured I’d wait. I was hoping the bird would exit through the top of the chimney.
We heard it again the next day.
I ducked my head in, and looked up. I could see what appeared to be an egg resting between one side of the brick and the flue. I could not see the bird.
Now what do I do?
I chose nothing. Sometimes patience can pay off.
And the next few days we heard nothing. Thank goodness, I thought, the bird had left.
But last week we started to smell something dead as we walked near the fireplace. We knew the trapped bird had not been able to free itself.
Thursday evening, after softball practice, it was time to attack the problem – mainly because the smell had gotten much worse.
I recruited some help from good friend Ronnie Day, who just happened to be on his way home from work and not yet in Holly Springs. I’m not sure he knew what he was getting himself into. But he’s always more than willing to help.
This time, we both ducked our heads into the fireplace and looked up. We had a hard time figuring out the flue. It felt and appeared impossible to open.
Then we saw the bird itself. A portion of it, too, like the egg, was visible in a crack between the brick and the flue.
“That’s a big bird,” we almost said in unison.
This was no chimney sweep.
What next? We considered our options. There were not many. We definitely could not ignore the problem.
We decided to try and find some sort of tool and try our best to pull the dead bird out.
I held the flashlight. Ronnie first tried a clothes hanger.
That didn’t work – too flimsy.
Next was a bent curtain rod. It worked better. Some feathers started flying.
But it wasn’t good enough to get the job done.
So our next option was a smaller version of hedge clippers.
By this time I had the flashlight in hand and a container in the other, holding it underneath the area where the bird was located.
Ronnie was running the blades of the clippers into the gap, grasping the bird and pulling and grunting and pulling and grunting.
He paused, and shouted, “You’re not going to believe this. It’s a duck.”
“What?” I questioned.
“It’s a duck,” he said again.
The egg suddenly fell, just missing Ronnie’s head. We had a sheet covering the gas logs. We couldn’t tell if the egg broke and landed in the sheet or not.
More feathers were flying, too.
A minute or two later the duck itself fell into the container I was holding. Ronnie breathed a sigh of relief.
Pam was already holding the front door open, trying to get some relief from the smell.
I exited the house and quickly disposed of the dead duck.
When I returned to the den I rolled pine straw, black particles, feathers and other stuff that had fallen into the sheet. Then I stuck my head back into the fireplace in search of the egg. It was in the back, apparently cracked for some time. I dropped it into the sheet, too, and dropped the sheet into a garbage bag Pam was holding. Then I quickly carried it outside to the garbage can.
Pam sprayed air freshener.
The job was done.
Now I need to get someone on the roof (other than myself) and make sure something is over the top of that chimney so another duck won’t nest inside.
But then what are the odds of this happening again?
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