Andy Law Pest Control was called out to a peculiar case this week. A customer in Perth had heard noises under the kitchen units and investigated with a torch. They said they could see 2 rats scurrying around under there; they’d also heard noises in the bedroom wall. Rats, and mice too, often get into a house through gaps at ground level and then climb up through walls to the attic; the sounds can be heard clearly through the plasterboard. Altogether this seemed to be a rat infestation in the house.
When we looked under the kitchen units to investigate the noises though, what we found was a trapped wood pigeon! The trapped wood pigeon was very lucky because it would have died if it had been trapped for 1 or 2 more days; when we found and released it though, it was still strong enough to fly off to a tree in the garden.
To get under the kitchen units, the wood pigeon must have fallen down the chimney and somehow got into a wall cavity, ending up on the ground floor. It is common for birds to fall in to chimneys; we’ve found gulls, owls, jackdaws, collared doves and starlings in chimneys in the past. This happens especially because some of these birds build nests in chimneys and the adults and chicks can both drop down from the nest.
Unfortunately, many of these birds stay trapped in the chimney, suffering a slow death. Often flies breed in the dead bodies, causing a fly infestation in the rooms that the chimney leads to, as well as bad smells.
Birds nesting in the chimney cause insect infestations too because many insects breed in bird nests. We have treated infestations of bird fleas, bird mites, carpet beetles, biscuit beetles and brown moths that came from birds’ nests in chimneys; these insects either bite you for blood or infest your food and furnishings so you definitely don’t want them as uninvited guests. Birds’ nests can block the chimney flue as well, which is dangerous.
Bird-proofing the tops of chimneys is always recommended; this protects you and your belongings from insect infestations, avoids harm to birds and keeps the flue clear. There are several different ways to bird-proof chimneys and, done professionally, it is a permanent solution to problems with trapped birds, bad smells and fly and insect infestations.