The surpises down the chimney

This tawny owl was recently resued from a grain store it had been living in for months.

This tawny owl was recently resued from a grain store it had been living in for months.

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Bird rescues are a regular job in spring and early summer, mainly due to them falling down chimneys!

Usually the source of all the cheeping, scratching and fluttering behind the gas fire, or in a sealed-up fireplace, turns out to be a starling.

Starlings are the explorers of the bird world, often finding their way down pipe boxes from attics, or even down wall cavities.

Despite usually expecting to find a starling when I dismantle the bird’s temporary prison, there have been a few surprises.

Jackdaws, those habitual chimney nesters, are regulars.

Racing pigeons and wood pigeons are also prone to take a tumble down a lum.

Magpies have also featured, perhaps falling foul while looking for chimney nests to predate.

This tawny owl was recently rescued from a grain store it had been living in for months. It seemed the bird had got in during the winter when dusk arrived before the sheds were closed for the night.

Now in summer, the bird was fast asleep long before closing time, so never got the chance to find its way out.

Of course, it was a useful natural controller of mice, but the pellets and poo were beginning to cause a problem. There was also the possibility the bird would accumulate rodenticide in its body, by eating contaminated mice.

Not to worry, it is now in a wood on a distant estate where it will soon get used to living the outdoor life again.

I wonder what the next one will be? George Hogg. Hogg Estate Services, Wildlife Management