An owl is in the safe hands of wildlife carers from Burnham-On-Sea this week after being rescued when it tumbled down a chimney into a home.

Volunteers from Secret World, based in East Huntspill, were called to the house in Bawdrip on Tuesday.

Secret World’s Debbie O’Keefe told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “The barn owl had fallen down the chimney and was covered in soot.”

“The owl was left to get over the initial stress and shock in the morning and at tea time it was decided that it needed to have a wash. We are not able to use any soap on the owl’s feathers as this does damage them. Birds have special waterproofing on their feathers which enables them to remain dry during the wet weather.”

“After its shower, the owl was left to dry out in an incubator before being put in an aviary to recover.”

“The good news is that it doesn’t appear to have any other injuries, however it may take another few washes and time before the normal beautiful white plumage of the barn owl is resumed.”

She added that no-one really knows why owls and other birds fall down chimneys. “One theory is that now that we use solid fuel, there is no smoke just fumes and as rooftops are high replacing natural habitats like tree tops, birds sit against the chimney pots as they provide warmth.”

“Sadly they can become drowsy and overcome by fumes and can end up tumbling into and down the chimney. We urge homeowners that have an open fire to take the necessary precautions by covering their chimneys to avoid birds falling in.”