When I got out of bed yesterday morning, Steven, who had been up for an hour or so already, said he felt that something was in the chimney. It had been putting up a fuss and banging all around, right above the heat exchanger (which is right above the fireplace opening). It was so loud and so close that it startled him. He felt it was at least as big as a crow and by the sounds of it, was possibly a bird.
After that first morning ruckus, it was quiet for hours and we thought maybe it had left, but by early afternoon I heard noises, in brief intervals, which sounded to me like the thud of paws landing on a surface and a light scuffle, but then it would be silent again. I got to wondering if there was a raccoon up there. By mid-afternoon we decided to open the flu in case something was trapped. The idea that something might be trapped and die in there was not a happy thought, for many reasons! But nothing appeared and nothing could be seen when looking up with a flashlight.
Toward evening we heard a scuffle again. This time, when shining the flashlight through the glass fireplace door, I could see ash falling down and dust flying, and finally, of all things, out fell a duck! That was the last thing either of us had ever expected! So there she was in our fireplace, now trapped behind glass. In an effort to help her out in a way that wouldn’t cause a big freakout or make a huge mess, we got a big box, set the opening in front of the door and then opened the fireplace. I even filled the bottom of the box with grass and put a water dish in there. Surely she was thirsty, after huffing soot all day.
It didn’t take long to realize this was a ridiculous idea and that she might never come into the box and even if she did, she wouldn’t stay put for us to move it. I did a quick research on how to pick up a duck (no, I’ve never picked up a duck!), we opened all the doors, I got myself ready with my leather gloves and gardening sleeves and opened the fireplace. She was very small and slender, not like your common puddle duck, and very scared. The fireplace is pretty wide and she got by me, flew STRAIGHT up and into the window (which now has a sooty duck print on it), then into the kitchen, onto the counter and finally, whoosh, out the door. And wow, did she fly. She beelined over the yard, through the trees and then straight into the lake. We watched her bomb into the water and dive below the surface. I think I could even hear her quack a few times : ) I could have cried, with happiness! What a frightening trip she just had. So happy she made it!
This was taken just after she landed in the water. I can make out the ripples from her splash.
If we could do it over, we would definitely have opened the flu sooner. Hard to imagine being stuck in a sooty chimney all day.
And now if you ever end up with a duck in your chimney, hopefully you will have a better clue of what to do than we did!
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