Saturday, January 8, 2011

"Squirrel" in the Chimney?

      I received a phone call yesterday morning from a gentlemen here in Woodbury, who told me he thought he had a squirrel in his chimney. He had heard noises early in the morning, but had not heard anything after that. It was an old house, so I told him his chimney might not have any flue liner in it which could prevent the squirrel from climbing out and maybe he had gotten out. I told him to call me after he got home from work if he heard any more noises. About 7:00 PM he called, and said his wife had heard noises again. I told him I would come over this morning and get it out for him.
      When I got there I discovered that there were two fireplaces back to back, on an interior wall, which shared a common chimney, so the critter was going from one side to the other. This was going to be difficult. If I set up at one fireplace, the critter would go to the other side. I was debating what to do when the customer said to me, "If we light a fire in this side, won't that drive him to the other side". Customers are really smart. I never thought of that. So that's what we did. We lit a fire in one side and as we were watching, the customer went to the other room and I heard him say, "Oh, it's a..........................

Scroll down to see what the "squirrel" looked like.

It was a screech owl. I picked him out of the fireplace and took him outside. I let him go and he flew about 50 feet and fell into the snow. I went over, picked him up, and put him in a cage trap. He was probably exhausted and dehydrated from about 24 hours in the chimney. I called a wildlife rehabilitator, explained the situation, and she said to bring him over. I delivered the poor little guy, She said she would give him some raw hamburger and fluids and release him in a couple of days. A nice interesting call ended just fine.

The picture on the left is him sitting in the fireplace, and the one on the right is him sitting on the rehabilitator's hand.