Watch: Hundreds of Birds Become Trapped in Fireplace of California Home

Every day is different in the fire service! Sunday night, your Montecito firefighters were called to a home where about 1,000 small birds had become trapped in the chimney. We worked with Santa Barbara County Animals Services to figure out how to safely free the birds. We had hoped they would fly up and out the flue on their own overnight. Montecito Fire and County Animal Services returned to the residence Monday morning to find the birds still trapped at the base of the fireplace. County Animal Services worked diligently throughout the day to design a chute system to funnel the birds out of the fireplace and release them through the home’s back doors. We are grateful for the positive outcome to this unusual call and the opportunity to problem-solve with our partners at Santa Barbara County Animal Services. #montecitofire #montecito #montecito #montecitocommunity #firefighters #animalrescue

Posted by Montecito Fire on Monday, April 26, 2021

By Tim Binnall

Firefighters in California found themselves with a rather unusual problem on their hands when hundreds of birds somehow wound up stuck in the fireplace of a home. The odd incident reportedly occurred on Sunday evening in the community of Montecito when a resident discovered that approximately 1,000 of the diminutive creatures, later identified as a migratory species known as swifts, had flown down their chimney and could not escape. An eerie video captured at the scene shows the birds fluttering up against a fireplace cover seemingly ready to burst into the residence at any moment.

Fortunately, the birds were being kept at bay by the screen, so the firefighters and animal welfare workers who responded to the call initially opted to see if they would simply fly away at some point during the night. However, their hopes were dashed when they returned the next day and found that the animals were still stuck. As such, the team devised a rather clever plan wherein they constructed a "chute system" which funneled the birds from the chimney, through the house, and out the back door.

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