MONTECITO (CBSLA) — A terrifying flock of small birds that became trapped in a Montecito chimney were freed, much to the relief of the homeowners and the birds.

(credit: Montecito Fire Department)

Montecito firefighters checking on a report of birds or bats trapped in the chimney of a home in the 100 block of Hermosillo found about 1,000 small birds known as “swifts” trying to escape the chimney, but were blocked by a gate covering the fireplace. Video showed hundreds of the small birds fluttering up against the grate simply standing against the fireplace.

(credit: Montecito Fire Department)

Firefighters and Santa Barbara County Animal Services wanted to give the birds time to fly up and out of the flue of the chimney on their own overnight. But the next morning, the birds were still trapped. So animal services worked to design a chute system to funnel the birds out of the fireplace and safely release them through the home’s back doors.

It’s unclear why the birds flew into the chimney.