Pigeon survives 60 mile journey from Hampshire to Hassocks stuck in car grille

A pigeon has survived the odds after being hit by a car in Hampshire and becoming trapped behind the front grill of the car as well as travelling all the way back to Hassocks in Sussex.
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Saturday morning a family from Hassocks near Burgess Hill travelled down to the little village of Bentworth near Alton in Hampshire.

"We were about 10 minutes away from Bentworth when we had what we thought was a near miss with a pigeon. We couldn't see the bird anywhere so thought the bird must have flown off. We had no idea the pigeon was trapped behind the grille for the rest journey and our return home later in the day" said Katherine Cotterell from Hassocks.

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The family were completely unaware that the pigeon had hit the car with such force that it had broken through the car grille and found itself trapped inside a gap between the grille and the radiator with no way of escape.

Pigeon trapped behind car grillPigeon trapped behind car grill
Pigeon trapped behind car grill

"It was only when a passing pedestrian knocked on our door in the evening that we noticed the pigeon behind the grille, so we phoned round and East Sussex WRAS said they would help," added Katherine.

East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service (WRAS) were called out and Operations Director Trevor Weeks MBE attended on site. "At first I was not sure how the pigeon even managed to get inside as the grille appeared intact. It was only on closer inspection that you could see a crack in the grilel which must have been caused by the force of the pigeon hitting it. I'm not surprised that they didn't notice it being in there,” said Trevor.

Trevor was able to get a hand through the crack in the grille and get the bird inside a pillowcase to help keep it calm whilst being removed. "It was not easy, and I had to remove a couple of broke bits of plastic and slowly manoeuvred the pigeon out, there was enough room for the pigeon, but it was awkward with my hands being there too," said Trevor.

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After a quick assessment Trevor loaded the pigeon into his veterinary ambulance and drove back across to WRAS's Casualty Centre at Whitesmith near Lewes where the bird was assessed by Lead Casualty Manager Katie Nunn Nash.

Pigeon being removed from grillPigeon being removed from grill
Pigeon being removed from grill

"The bird had lost quite a few feathers and there were a few grazes and skin tears consistent with such an incident. There is also what feels like a fracture to the clavicle on one side, but it feels stable, and our vet has been asked to assess the bird’s condition. Our biggest problem will be whether he is calm enough whilst in care to recover, as Wood Pigeons very nervous birds. After such traumatic incidents they can be very stressed,” said Katie.

"We occasionally get called to such incidents, but they are normally badgers or pheasants stuck in the bumper or car grille but to have a pigeon survive cracking and going through the car grille as well as surviving the journey back from Hampshire was quite unbelievable,” said Trevor.

Katherine said: "WRAS were amazing, they responded quickly, calmly and professionally and I was very impressed with their service."

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East Sussex WRAS is a registered charity which relies on donation from kind-hearted members of the public. Please donate to help fund their vital community service.

Reg Charity 1108880 www.wildlifeambulance.org