As I sat here this morning reading my emails, I heard the unmistakable racket of a bird falling down the chimney and trying frantically to find a way out. Since I have a fireplace insert, there was no way he was going to make his way to freedom without assistance.
When my son got up for school, I closed the door leading into the hallway, hoping to confine the bird to the living-dining room-kitchen areas of the house. After opening the front door, I had Eric stand between the door and the other room and try to get the bird to go out the front door. Well, you know what they say about the best of plans…” I opened the insert and nothing came out. I told my son the bird must have flown back up the chimney. I’d no sooner gotten the words out when a half grown Starling flew into the room, but he had no interest in seeking freedom via the open door–preferring instead to practice his new aviator skills in my living and dining rooms. Considering he hadn’t grown his long tail feathers yet, he could fly just fine.
Finally deciding to just catch the thing and put him out, we spent the next twenty minutes or so trying to catch him. He had no trouble evading us and even seemed to be enjoying the game. I was on my way to get a pillow case to throw over him when Eric announced another one had come from the fireplace. Now we had two of the little guys flying around. Wanting to kick myself for being an idiot, I rushed over and closed the draft and the insert door before the house turned into an aviary.
The birds continued to ignore the open door, perhaps because it’s an arched opening inset into a small entryway and this confused them. They finally made their way into the kitchen and I opened the door in there. After some encouragement and much laughter from my son and I, one of them flew away to freedom. The other one seemed determined to stay with us forever. He made several tries at reentering the dining room, but I prevented these attempts by standing on a stepladder and flopping a dishcloth at him while my son giggled in the background. Okay, I know I looked foolish, but these antics eventually worked and I managed to shoo him out the open door. Now… if I can just remember to keep the draft in the fireplace closed when not in use and find a way to prevent black birds from building their homes on top of my chimney.
This early morning excitement was nothing compared to the middle of the night adventure I had when a large feral cat fell down the chimney.
Elizabeth Melton Parsons