This story from our friends in Alabama illustrates how a rescue story can literally come into your home.]
From Gary and Helen in Alabama:
Chimney swifts. Dominated (stole) a whole weekend plus some weekdays from us. Started when Helen heard chirping in our chimney. Opened up our woodburning fireplace insert and there were two fledglings on the grate. So into the basket with straw they went.
Quick review of the literature was dismal. Once out of the nest and inaccessible to mother swift, some experts say put them out in the woods and let nature take its course. They exist on a diet of half-digested insects that the parents catch. Substitutes won’t work – per the literature. But a local vet said try a watery slurry made of a certain dry catfood. So, we did.
These guys were very heat stressed and dehydrated. We fed and watered them while building a hanging basket to put them back into the chimney. Then we heard more chirping. Found big brother trapped at the bottom of the chimney but above the grate at the top of the fireplace insert. Don’t let anyone tell you animal rescue is the most fun you can have with your clothes on. Because, the way it worked out after I moved the 300 lb. insert out of the fireplace mouth, Helen stripped down to near nekkedness to squeeze into the sooty chimney and grab the third bird. Much more practical from a cleanup standpoint.
Well, we nursed them with water and the vet’s suggested catfood gruel. We tried to put them back at the top of the chimney but the nest had broken off the wall. We hung a basket inside the flue and hoped the parents would return, but the parents had moved on and it was 115 up on the roof. That same day, we retrieved them, and for two days Helen fed them by hand. Then, she rescued a baby robin.