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Unwise owl rescued after becoming trapped in chimney flue for two days

Oswestry | News | Published:

When Santa got stuck up the chimney at least he was able to shout. But a hapless owl could only flutter when it got well and truly wedged inside the chimney of a log burner at a house on the Shropshire-Powys border.

Householders at the home in Arddleen, between Oswestry and Welshpool, first heard a fluttering in the flue and thought it was a bird trapped inside.

But it eventually became apparent that the bird was stuck and unable to get out without help so the worried residents put in a call to the RSPCA.

Wales RSPCA inspector Phil Lewis, was called to rescue the trapped bird on Saturday.

"The owl was wedged inside the flue since Thursday and was unable to escape. Fluttering was heard in the chimney and the homeowners thought it was trying to get back out of the flue but it couldn't get out," he said.

At first attempts were made to reach the trapped owl from outside.

"We could not get to the owl from outside so we chipped away at the fire's cement to expose the feathers and we were then able to lift a piece of the fire to one side to give us better access.

"We put a piece of wood there to stop the bird from falling lower down and I reached in and got him."

Despite its ordeal the owl was lucky to have had no injuries and managed to survive with no food or drink for two days.

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"I took the owl outside and although I don't think he'd had much sleep, he was fine and flew up to some nearby trees.

"He was a little bit dusty but he was uninjured. He had a lucky escape."

The tawny owl is one of the most common owls in Britain, with a population of about 20,000 breeding pairs.

Because it is nocturnal it is rarely seen and people often only know of its presence by the familiar deep 'tu-woo' or 'kee-wick' most commonly heard about two hours after sunset in late autumn or winter.

The tawny owl lives in deciduous and coniferous woodland, wooded farmland and parkland. It can also be found in towns where there are large trees, such as in parks and churchyards.

Tawny owls have fixed territories which they patrol and appear to know very well.

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