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Hijinks Ensue

Daft pigeon

A bird fell down the chimney at the office today. The fireplace is bricked up but there's an air vent behind my desk where it used to be. I pulled out the table that was in front of the vent and knocked a hole in the steel grill (it was permanently bricked in place).

Air vent

Shining a torch inside I could see a lot of rubbish and rubble, the remains of two or three long-dead starlings, and a live pigeon. After leaving it alone for half an hour or so the bird still hadn't come out, so I got a crowbar and enlarged the hole in the grill as far as possible. After another half an hour the pigeon finally poked its head out. In hindsight I should have tried to trap it in something at this stage, but I was worried it might try to go back in so I let it fly out unhindered, and it immediately went and sat on top of the highest shelf it could find.

Pigeon on top shelf

The next two or three hours were spent trying to persuade the thing to fly out of the window. I chased it around waving a stick. I shut all but one of the blinds and switched the lights off so the only light was coming from the open window. I left it alone for half an hour (it sat and preened itself then went to sleep). I chased it around again. I tried to catch it by throwing a sheet over it. I chased it back and forth, continually trying to direct it towards the window (it kept seeming to consider flying out, then changing its mind and landing on a ledge above the window). At one point it tried to fly out and bounced off the part that doesn't open. It did eventually fly out but only after I'd wasted the best part of an afternoon on it.

daft Pigeon
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I think they left it open because of the air vent, though they could have partially capped it, sufficient to stop birds falling down. Plus the place is so draughty I'm not sure why they bothered with the vent. I initially thought they'd put the upstairs vent into the chimney leading up from the downstairs fireplace, but upon closer examination it appears there was originally an upstairs fireplace too. Presumably if a bird fell down the other chimney and landed in the blocked-up downstairs fireplace I wouldn't even hear it, which would be a good thing, because knowing me after a few hours of hearing it fluttering away in there I would be strongly tempted to get the hammer and chisel out.
They generally put the vents in where thay block up a fireplace, as the muck and rubble that accumulates tends to hold damp, which obviously comes down whenever it rains, or up from the footings..

Hope you have tolerant landlords! What you need is a couple of wire gages over the pots to stop 'em falling down.

I have to say, my current opinion of birthdays is roughly equivalent to mine. I feel like I'm in a sort of Groundhog Year...