Seagulls in the Chimney

Did you read that title and think to yourself, "what the actual fuck?" Yep, that pretty much sums up the reaction we had about two weeks ago as we were sitting in our living room, waiting for Avery to wake up from her nap, when we heard a most unfortunate sound spewing forth from our fireplace.

Conversation came to a dead halt. Our heads whipped around simultaneously. Exorcist-style. I blurted out: "Oh my god, there are fucking birds in our chimney," at almost the exact same moment that Mark looked at me bug-eyed and said "is that a fucking seagull?"

My first reaction was that no, it couldn't be a seagull because how would a bird that size get down our chimney? Not possible, right? Just not possible.

Then Mark reminded me that baby seagulls are quite a bit smaller than their parents.

With visions of bird shit dropping down to thoroughly coat nice little candle display currently occupying our fireplace, we immediately sprung into action. I called the chimney sweep guy that I'd spoken with earlier in the week about, you know, cleaning our chimney, to see if he had suggestions about how one goes about removing (baby?) seagulls from the core of one's house.

He told me to call Animal Control because of course he did. So we spent a few minutes trying to look up the appropriate number to call on the King County website, and then several more minutes trying to navigate the automated phone system of what appears to be the King County please-please-adopt-a-dog/cat/bird/small rodent hotline before we were finally connected to an actual person.

Who told us to call a chimney sweep.

With everyone in a position to know anything about how one removes seagulls from one's chimney pointing the finger at someone else, I asked the woman at King County what we could do about the problem now. She told me that in all likelihood the babies had fallen down the chimney and were now resting on top of the flue (sad face), and to do the following:

(1) Prepare a box with pillows, towels, blankets, etc.

(2) Place the box in the fireplace directly underneath the chimney

(3) Open the flue and wait for the babies to fall out, presumably in a feathery, squawking pile.

(4) Without actually touching the babies, take them outside and deposit them in a place where their presumably frantic parents would be likely to see them.

Thinking that we now had traumatized baby seagulls in our chimney, and frantic seagulls parents hovering outside, we prepared a box and Mark got down and shoved it into the fireplace.

And then went to open the flue.

Which was already open.

Now we had a real mystery on our hands. Were the babies somehow stuck up in the chimney? Were we hallucinating? Did we have a ghost seagull in the chimney?

At this point, we were already late for plans with some friends and our options were limited. We obviously couldn't reach whatever was stuck up there. It wasn't falling down, and modern chimneys wouldn't fit a small child, let alone a grown adult (or Santa).

So we woke up Avery, got our stuff together, and headed out to the car. Where we saw a fucking seagull perched atop our chimney, poking it's head down and cawing for no apparent reason whatsoever. Turns out that squawking loudly into a narrow tube conducts sound pretty well. The bloody thing was mocking us.

This is not an actual picture of our Seagull. It is merely proof that we're not alone in this problem.

Since that afternoon, knock on wood, we haven't heard any raucous screeching in our living room. Perhaps this is a daytime only thing and so we're always at work. You'd think the nanny would have mentioned it, though...

On a related note, go and YouTube the word "seagulls," and you'll discover that a lot of people find the sound of cawing relaxing. Apparently, to some people, seagull screeching is a nice complement to the sound of waves.  Those people are crazy.


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