A. First you want to make sure that the bird is in fact trapped and is not nesting. It is not uncommon for chimney swifts, for example, to choose chimneys as a nest site.
If you hear persistent flapping coming from one spot in the chimney, chances are you have a bird that needs your help getting out.
You’ll want to do some preparations before opening your fireplace. There are a couple of different scenarios as to how this can play out:
1. If there is a door or a window that leads outside in the same room as the fireplace, open just one and cover up any other windows and doors and dim the lights. You want the bird to be attracted to this single light source that leads outside. It’s also a good idea to close doors to any other rooms to prevent the bird from going elsewhere in your house. Now you’re ready! If you need to open the damper do so carefully to let the bird down into the fireplace. The bird should fly towards the light source; leading the bird outside. You can also tie a sheet between two broom handles, and with a person holding each end, use this to gently guide the bird to the open window or door.
2. Rather than opening the door all the way to the fireplace and letting the bird fly free, quickly and carefully, open the fireplace door just a little and place a towel or a sheet over the bird. Carefully pick the bird up in the towel/sheet and take it outside away from any windows, pets or other unsafe areas. If the bird is healthy it should fly away. This has happened to me before and I, gently and quickly, placed a cardboard box over the bird and slid another piece of thin cardboard under the box. With the bird inside the box, I took the box outside and the bird flew away!
Once the bird is outside, if it doesn’t fly away or you notice that it is injured, you will need to contact a local bird rehabilitor for care.
To prevent other birds or animals from gaining access to your chimney, it is a good idea to install animal proof chimney caps.