“It’s getting hoot in here” - owl found in family’s fireplace

The owl in the fireplace. Picture by Ross Parry.
The owl in the fireplace. Picture by Ross Parry.

A North Yorkshire family was left stunned when the fireplace in their new home was invaded by this twit - an owl.

Homeowner Nicola Walker, 37, stumbled upon the feathered creature who had managed to drop in through her chimney in Scalby, Scarborough.

Nicola Walker, 37, son Jacob, 9, daughter Lottie, 7, and husband Ian, 37 from Scarborough who found a Tawny Owl in their fireplace after it fell down the chimney. Picture by Ross Parry.

Nicola Walker, 37, son Jacob, 9, daughter Lottie, 7, and husband Ian, 37 from Scarborough who found a Tawny Owl in their fireplace after it fell down the chimney. Picture by Ross Parry.

Nicola was confronted with the massive bird sat in the fireplace - looking at her from behind the glass.

She said: “I was at home getting ready for bed and came downstairs and went into the living and looked at the fireplace and I thought I was seeing things as there was an owl behind the glass.

“It was just sitting there like an exhibit in a museum or something you would see in a taxidermist.

“I called my husband Ian and asked him if he saw it too, because it was not what you would expect to see on an evening.

“We rang the wildlife sanctuary and they told us to open the fire and don’t try and pull it out in case it was injured.

“It just went up into the bottom of the chimney, so we just left it until it came out itself.

“This morning when we came down it was balancing on the ladders.

“The wildlife sanctuary advised us to get a blanket and cover it up, but it got a little panicky and moved over to the window as soon as I got close to it.

“I tried to cover it a couple of times, but couldn’t get the blanket over, but the third time

“But as soon as the blanket was over it, it relaxed and we could put it in a box to take it out

Gymnastics teacher Nicola, said the arrival of the tawny owl had made her children, Jacob, nine, and Lottie, seven, to question if they were off to Hogwarts - the wizardry school made famous by the Harry Potter series.

Nicola said: “Jacob woke up when he heard the commotion, but Lottie slept through and it wasn’t until the next morning did she see the owl.

“My children absolutely love Harry Potter so I found some letters on the internet like the one they send out in the books and printed off one for each of them.

Nicola who moved into the house at the start of September with husband Ian, 37, a skateboard clothing shop owner, said despite living near a wooded area didn’t think she would be invaded by the nocturnal hunter.

She said: “When we moved in we didn’t think about getting a cowl on on top of the chimney but it is the next on my list of things to do.”

Alex Farmer, who has run the Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary for the past six years, said: “I got a call late last night about 11pm to say that an owl had become stuck down the chimney.

“I said to Nicola not to move it and to open the door to the fireplace and keep all doors and windows shut and let it come out on its own.

“After she caught it, the owl was transferred over to us. He was just suffering from shock and we will keep him here for a couple of days to make sure he’s not suffering from anything else.

“We will then let him go close to where we found him as they are quite territorial.

Alex said that many people like Nicola don’t think about installing a cap on their chimney.

She added: “A cap on your chimney is a good idea as this isn’t the first bird we have got stuck down the chimney. Jackdaws are terrible for it as they often balance their nest right on the chimney pot.”