If you’re an Indianapolis homeowner, most likely you have birds get stuck in your chimney. Rest assured, you’re not alone. In fact, this is a fairly common phenomenon.

Why does this happen?

Houses today are frequently built with small metal flue pipes instead of clay liners. These flues can prove to be deadly for animals who are unable to establish a solid grip on the slippery metal, causing them to fall into the fireplace. Chimney Swifts are notorious for this, hence the name.

So, what are you to do if there’s a bird in your chimney? Although we deal with all things chimney, it’s not traditionally in our job description to save you from the foul play (pun intended) in your smokestack. But we can offer you some guidance on how to get a bird out.

Here are 5 simple steps for removing birds from your chimney:

  1. If the bird is located in the chimney (not the fireplace), then open the fireplace damper.
  2. Put an open box (open side up) in the fireplace opening about one inch from the top of the fireplace. You can use a fireplace gate or another box to adjust it to the right height.
  3. Turn on a flashlight and put it inside the box, then replace the box to its original location.
  4. Make the room as quiet as possible, silencing TVs and music. Wait silently until the bird enters the box.
  5. Trap a bird by sliding a piece of cardboard over the open box. Take the box outside and remove the cardboard to set the bird free.

What to do if the bird is in your fireplace

If the bird is in your fireplace, close off all entrances to the room. (We recommend closing off hallways with sheets hung by thumbtacks.) Open a window or exterior door, just in case the bird escapes.

From there, open the door or screen slightly and trap the bird by tossing a towel over it. Gather up all corners of the towel, keeping the bird inside. Carry it outside and release the bird back into the wild.

What if the bird is flying free in your room

If the bird escapes, dim the lights in the room and guide the bird with a broom toward the open door or window. In the event that it’s dark outside, turn on an exterior light to help guide the bird to the exit.

Although we know that dealing with birds in chimneys can be stressful for homeowners, keep in mind that it is equally unnerving for the bird. Try to stay as calm as possible and follow our steps to make your chimney – once again – bird free.