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RSPCA rescue owl trapped in wood burner chimney at Pontrobert

A tawny owl has been rescued by the RSPCA after becoming trapped in a wood burner in Pontrobert, Meifod.

The RSPCA received a call on 9 January with deputy chief inspector Phil Lewis attending the property to assess the situation.

Credit: RSPCA Cymru

Phil said: “I was just about able to see the owl on a ledge inside the flue, but I was unable to reach him so a plan was made to return with a builder to try and dismantle the burner to get to him.

“That evening he had dropped down into the enclosed grate area, so I was able to secure him. Despite his ordeal he was was not injured and I was able to release him back to the wild.

“To think that the owl fell all the way down the chimney and into the wood burner without any injuries is remarkable.

“Unfortunately rescues like this do occasionally happen and in my time as an RSPCA inspector I have probably rescued on average at least one owl a year – which is 20-30 owls from fireplaces/wood burners.”

Sometimes birds and bats can fit through small openings at the top of chimneys, so the RSPCA advises fitting a wire mesh guard or cowl to the top of the chimney to prevent birds from becoming trapped.

Phil added: “In this case the homeowner hadn’t long moved into the property and wasn’t aware of any openings – but now will be looking to cap it to prevent any other owls accidentally dropping in.”

For your own safety, the RSPCA does not recommend handling birds of prey; if you do encounter a wild animal you think needs help, call our 24 hour emergency line on 0300 1234 999 or visit our website at www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/wildlife/injuredanimals.