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PROWLS frees birds trapped by chimneys

Northern flicker

Usually it is Powell River Orphaned Wildlife Society (PROWLS) calling Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society (OWL) in Delta for assistance, but this time it was the opposite.

OWL called PROWLS president Merrilee Prior to ask if she knew about a merlin chasing a dove inside a house on Texada Island. The new homeowners from the Lower Mainland, who did not yet know about Powell River’s bird rescue resource, called OWL for assistance.

After Merrilee received the message, she called her experienced volunteer on Texada, who quickly went over to the house and caught and released both birds.

The dove had flown down the chimney to escape the falcon during a heavy rain and wind storm, and the merlin had followed. It takes many connections to rescue a bird.

In the next chimney incident, falling into an oil-burning furnace was likely not what a northern flicker had in mind when it was banging on the metal flashing on the roof. Fortunately the furnace was not on.

Besides acquiring a heavy coating of soot, which took four baths to remove, it did hurt its wing banging around inside the furnace, but that proved to be superficial.

Of greater consequence was that it lost its tail, needed for flight and navigation, and had to stay at PROWLS while the feathers grew back (about two weeks).

Northern flickers drum on objects to communicate territorial defence, making as loud a noise as possible. Tumbling down the chimney must have added to its great sound effects.