A remarkably resilient pigeon has defied the odds and survived being trapped down a Cambridgeshire home’s chimney.
The distressed bird was heard to be clawing and flapping for days after it fell and got stuck behind a gas fireplace.
After receiving little support from wildlife experts, the house’s owners turned to a local handyman for help.
The sooty pigeon was released apparently unharmed after a seven day ordeal and flew off to the nearest high tree.
Allison Jackson, in her 60s, and Joan Jackson, 91, of Fulbourn, heard the loud thud of the pigeon plummeting down their chimney earlier this month.
“We heard clawing and we thought it could be mice or a rat. We never had any idea it was a bird,” explained Allison.
“It wasn’t singing a song or anything like that. He was clawing the whole time.”
The two ladies speculated what sort of “monster” had dropped down their chimney and called for help.
“You’re imagination goes wild,” joked Allison.
Technicians from the gas board turned off the supply to the fireplace, but advice from wildlife experts was useless, claims Allison.
No-one seemed to know how to remove the fireplace and there were even recommendations to call the fire service.
“It was just clawing and there was also a banging noise. I suppose it was just trying to get out again,” she added.
She and her mother turned to local handyman David Peat to see if he could rescue the bird.
“They phoned me up and said there’s a noise going on in one of the chimneys,” David explained.
“We didn’t know what it was. It was just making a bad noise.”
A gas technician came to the property and confirmed that a bird was inside the chimney, but still its wait for release went on.
David added: “Days had gone by. I said ‘whatever is in there is going to be dead surely. It couldn’t last that long without food and water’.
“They said: ‘We haven’t heard anything in two days. We’ve given up hope’.
“I went round and rattled the fire from side to side and low and behold he started again.”
David estimated the bird was stuck inside a shoe box-sized space.
“Once he got down the bottom he couldn’t flap his wings inside to get out,” he said.
“How long does a pigeon last like that? It must have been terrible in this heat.”
Eventually David was able to get a electrician to help show him how to remove the fireplace and get the bird out.
“We said he wouldn’t be alive and boy did he put up a fight,” said Allison.
“They got him in the end and he flew up the highest tree.
“It’s such a great relief, thinking about that poor bird down there.”
David added: “There he was all perky. There wasn’t anything wrong with it. We took it round the corner and away it flew.
“The bird was black, it had sooty stuff on it but it looked unscathed.
“I said: ‘It’s going to the nearest lake for a drink and a wash’.”
According to guidance from the RSPCA about ‘living with pigeons’, wire frame structures can prevent the birds settling on chimney stacks.
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