Birds in a Chimney

But when I came back in, Staci was up listening for a sound. “You know, before you turned on the AC, I thought I heard something like a scratch.” Something was going on. We fell silent and then we heard the sound of scratching on metal, or was it just metal expanding. No, it was scratching, a somewhat frantic scratching.

In a few moments, we isolated the sound and found it was coming from the fireplace in our bedroom. Very desperate scratching, pretty much get me the heck out of here now. What had gotten trapped in our chimney? A bird, squirell, racoon, zombie racoon? We had no idea, we just knew it was trying to get out of the chimney and into our bed room.

Its at this point that watching Night of the Living Dead and other zombie flicks finally paid off. Without thinking, we started to figure out how to barricade the chimney. An old book shelf on its side covered most of the opening, and I scavenged some spare shelfs and bits of wood from the basement. A file safe and our laundry hamper added some weight to secure the shelf in place in case this was an above average size bird or rodent.

Its at this point, admiring our handiwork, that I realized I’m woefully unprepared for the zombie apocalypse. At best, we could fortify our bedroom but that leaves us pretty far away from the kitchen and pantry. At some point, I’d also decided a shovel would make a good weapon in case it came down to a primal showdown. Not a little spade mind you, but a full length shovel which would have been impossible to swing around. At best I could poke at the vermin with it and hope to fend it off before it ate my brains.

Having secured the bedroom, we moved for the night to the spare bedroom. There was no way we would be sleeping with the scratching as background noise for the night. We spent sometime looking through the phone book for a pest control company that might be open at 4 in the morning. When the fourth one we called also went straight to their voice mail, we called it a night.

The next morning, the scratching had ceased. Either the scratcher had gotten out or died. Staci lined up a pest control company who could send someone out before noon to check out the chimney. The pest guy showed up ten minutes before noon and hoisted his ladder up to the roof. It turns out that bird must have made its way in through a gap in the chimney cap, which we need to repair now.

So, if you’ve learned anything from this story it should be to 1) be prepared to barricade yourself in your house and 2) a shovel is not the ideal weapon for close quarters combat.