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An Unexpected Guest in the Fireplace



This past Sunday, we received an emergency call from a residential home in Kalamazoo. The customer reported hearing strange sounds coming from the fireplace—movement, rustling, almost a flapping kind of noise.

We sent our West Michigan manager, Josh Boone, out to investigate. It’s not uncommon to get a call for weird noises coming from the fireplace.
The chimney is a very common entry point for wildlife such as squirrels, raccoons, bats, and more.

These particular sounds, however, were tell-tale signs of a bird. Josh had been to many bird-in-fireplace calls over the years. In most such calls, the bird is a starling that has become inadvertently trapped in the fireplace. When Josh arrived on the scene, though, it was clear right away that whatever was rustling in there was much bigger than a starling. When he opened the fireplace and shined his light inside, Josh saw not a starling but a male wood duck.

Wood ducks are common in Michigan wetlands. Males are easily identifiable by their iridescent green and purple head, chestnut breast, and white stripes, and other bold markings. The wood duck is commonly said to be the most beautiful of all waterfowl.

What possessed this wood duck to lodge itself in a chimney and flop down into this customer’s fireplace is anybody’s guess, but Josh was easily able to scoop him up and remove him. After taking a few pictures, Josh went out onto the balcony and released him.

Wood ducks are only one of many sorts of creatures that can either nest or become inadvertently trapped in a chimney or fireplace. If you think you may have wildlife getting in through your chimney, please give us a call at 800-441-1519. We can’t guarantee we’ll find anything as cool as Josh’s wood duck, but we’ll definitely get to the bottom of it.

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