By Alex Matthews
A tawny owl narrowly avoided being roasted alive when a homeowner heard it scrabbling around inside their wood burner.
In a poor Santa impression, the brown and white bird toppled down the burner’s flue and got itself completely stuck inside.
The concerned homeowner called the RSPCA on Sunday evening (November 19) and an inspector spent an hour and a half delicately trying to prise the owl from the pipe.
It eventually emerged completely black and covered in soot, but remarkably with no further injuries.
Having been recovered from the home in Ellesmere, Shropshire, and checked over by a vet, the tawny owl was eventually taken to a wildlife centre before being released into the wild.
RSPCA Inspector Kate Parker said: “The poor owl was completely trapped inside the flue of the wood burner and he may not have been found if the homeowners hadn’t have heard the scratching.
“The only way I could get him out was very delicately – something which took 90 minutes.
“He looked a little worse for wear as he was completely covered in black soot, but I got him to a vet to be checked over and thankfully he was not seriously injured.
“He’s now been taken to Cuan Wildlife Centre to be cleaned up and looked after until he can be released back into the wild.
“To think the owl fell all the way from the roof and down the chimney and to not get any serious injuries is remarkable.”