Friday, May 22, 2009

we have a chimney swallow!

For the past few days I've been hearing noises in our woodstove's chimney, which rises through the air to the ceiling right in the middle of our living room/kitchen area.

At first the sounds seemed like pieces of debris falling, and I figured some of the stuff on the inside of the chimney had loosened and was tumbling down the pipe. Yesterday, the noises became a bit more intense, and it began to sound more purposeful.

This morning I asked my husband to check it out. He opened the lid to the woodstove, stuck his hand into the chimney hole, and then jerked back with a start. I thought he had been bitten, but he had been startled by the feel of something soft.

Initially we thought it might be a mouse. Then a squirrel. Then we got serious and my son aimed the big flashlight into the chimney hole. It was a bird!

My husband gently took the bird and released it off the back deck. Probably 15 minutes or so later, the noises resumed.

I'm not sure why any bird would want to live inside a sooty chimney, but apparently this one (these? we think there were two) do. They are busily cleaning out my chimney every time they go in and out, as evidenced by the growing pile of cinders in the stovetop.

The funny thing is that they seem quite comfortable with the noises WE make. The chimney is a metal tube, not enclosed with brick or stone, and yesterday they were scrabbling away as my children, my mom, and I played a roaringly loud game of Apples to Apples, and then, even more funny, my mom started teaching us to play Rook.

For now, we are co-habitating quite nicely.


ponymaid said...

Billie, is your bird the same as a chimney swift? We had swallows at my other barn and I much enjoyed their cheerful, busy ways. Sally won't let them in this barn but we do have them swooping and diving over the paddock. I may return to Capistrano with them this fall. Are your swallows still happily and sootily in the woodstove chimney?

billie said...

Sadly, very sadly, I must report that one of the swallows died inside the woodstove top - we do not know why or exactly what happened - and the other one has moved on. :/

Maybe woodstove chimneys are not the best home for the swallows, after all.