My Do-Gooder Deed


Red-shafted Northern Flicker

     This is another post from nearly three years ago, from the days when hardly anyone knew about my blog.                                                        

A few days after we had one of those very rare earthquake tremors, I was vacuuming downstairs when I heard a fluttery noise. I turned the vacuum off and listened. The sound stopped.

Could it be another tremor? Maybe a loose picture was rattling against the wall.

I went upstairs and heard it again.

Aw, no! Some poor bird is stuck in the chimney.

Luckily it was summertime. No fire. I reached up into the flue and opened the damper, thinking the bird would drop down.

It was quiet then.

Oh no! Did I squish the bird when I pulled the steel flap open?

Carefully, I pulled it closed. The bird flapped.

Whew! Okay, it’s still alive.

Slowly, I opened the damper again. I had my head way up in the fireplace and, looking up the chimney, I could see a flurry of wings once in a while. The bird kept flapping, trying to fly up, but then it always fluttered down again.

 Poor thing must be exhausted.

I crawled into the firebox as far as I could and stretched my arm up the chimney through the small space past the open damper. I waved my hand back and forth blindly, trying to touch the bird.

Sorry, baby! I know you’re all freaked out. I wouldn’t want to be caught either.

At last I got hold of a wing and very gently pulled the bird through the opening.

I was holding a terrified juvenile flicker.

Wow, what a set of lungs!

Quickly, I checked it for injuries.

Good you’re okay.

I opened the door to the front deck and stepped outside with it.  The shrieking brought the neighbours out to see who was being murdered. They saw a young flicker leave my hands. Free at last!

Still trembling from the ordeal and from the sudden, unexpected volume of the squealing bird, I went to wash my hands. In the bathroom I looked in the mirror.

Holy smoke and chimney soot!

I was black up to the armpit, down my back, and all over my head. Only my eyes were white. I laughed.

I was a mess, but I felt great. I’d done my “do-gooder” deed for the day.


Please visit my other blog for short stories and introductions to other authors.

You’re always welcome to stop and say hello and tell the world what you think.

18 thoughts on “My Do-Gooder Deed

  1. Darlene Jones

    Had to laugh at this one. I once came home from work with the children when they were quite young and found a bird in the house. I assume it too had fallen down the chimney. My kids said, “How can we have a bird? We don’t even have a cage.”


    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      That’s cute. You must have had the flue open. I once found a robin dead in the woodstove (summertime and it wasn’t on, but it died of exhaustion, I guess). I felt terrible. This flicker at least chose the right flue (a separate one goes to the fireplace) and the damper was closed, so he didn’t fall through to the house like yours did. Just lucky I heard him or he too would have died of exhaustion.


  2. shoreacres

    I once had to deal with a bird in the house – a dove. I’m not sure who was more frightened. I called a woman who lived in the area at the time and did bird rehabbing. She said, “Easy as pie. Get a dishtowel, throw it over the bird and take it outdoors.” I was a little dubious, but it worked just fine, with only a feather or two lost. “When worlds collide” can be a very exciting thing.


  3. montucky

    I can sure appreciate that! Several years ago I also had one trapped in the wood stove. I was able to get it out unharmed too. They get really excited when you get them out!


  4. Ursula

    Lucky Flicker! I once had a hard time to get a little bird out of the living room. The glass door to the garden was opn so the bird flew inside and bounced into the other windows trying to get out. But it finally found its way out healthy but scared.


    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      I had that happen with a little chickadee and we have so many windows! She hit herself on them and hurt her leg a bit before I could herd her towards the open glass door, using a big sheet that I held up like a screen. She flew out and sat on a branch for a couple of hours and then she seemed to be okay again. Good thing because she had babies in the birdhouse nearby.


  5. Gladys

    So where is the picture of you all black with only your eyes white??? It would be a hoot..
    Thanks for doing your good deed for the day. You’re lucky it wasn’t an Alfred Hitchcock episode with hundreds of birds stuck in your chimney.


    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      If I’d been thinking I would have taken a “selfie” but I missed that opportunity. But your comment about Alfred Hitchcock gave me an idea for a second installment – Revenge of the Flickers. 😉



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