The Great Bird Rescue

When I got up this morning, I heard a strange noise coming from the basement.

Now, between horror movies and home ownership, I know that basement noises are never a good thing. So it was with some trepidation that I headed down the stairs, turning on every light along the way, to see if it was a chainsaw-wielding maniac or a leaky pipe. (Having dealt with plumbing issues in the past, between the two, I’d take the maniac.)

Turned out to be neither.

As soon as I got down there, it was clear the noise was critter-based. But it was hard to narrow down where it was coming from. It was sporadic, and it took both Ron and I standing very, very quietly for long periods with our heads cocked in varying directions to finally locate it.

The critter – a bird, we figured – was inside the furnace.

In the bottom ‘L’ of this pipe, to be exact.

We tried holding the pipe flap open, in the hopes that it would come towards the light, kinda like in Poltergeist. (Funny how the horror movie references kept popping up.) But it didn’t work.

The pipe had to come off, then.

As soon as Ron started removing the screws at the bottom, we could hear it skitter up to the top ‘L’ of the pipe. This was worrying, as it was moving towards the pipe that connects to the hot water tank, and if it was in there when things fired up, it could be bad. There was nothing for it but to continue, though, so Ron kept removing screws and then pulled the pipe apart, spilling out a fair bit of soot in the process.

I popped a bag over the open pipe end, so we didn’t end up with a bird flying around the basement. And it did come to the opening right away. But then it stopped, and no matter how much we tapped and coaxed and prodded, it wouldn’t step out into the bag. Eventually, it took a few steps when Ron held the screwdriver up beneath its feet, at which point I was able to close off the end of the bag and carry it outside.

Now that the bird was in the bag, it didn’t want to come out. I had to nudge it along, hoping that once it was outside and got its bearings, it would fly away. Unfortunately, while its wing and leg movements indicated it wasn’t injured, it also didn’t seem in any rush to go anywhere. It also kept rubbing its face on its wings. When I took a closer look, I realized it was keeping its eyes shut.

Full of soot, I expect.

In the end, we bundled it into a box and took it to Hope for Wildlife, a local animal rescue, for professional care.

I know they’ll take excellent care of the poor thing. Meanwhile, I’ve got some caring of my own to do. It’s time to figure out how to screen the roof vent so nobody else falls in.

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