Lost pigeon lands on oil rig and hitches lift to Great Yarmouth on board cargo ship, before being taken to RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre, near King’s Lynn

A crew member with the pigeon. Picture: RSPCA

A crew member with the pigeon. Picture: RSPCA - Credit: Archant

A racing pigeon who landed on an oil rig is being cared for by the RSPCA after hitching a ride on a supply ship.

The FS Kristiansand, which gave the bird a lift. Picture: RSPCA

The FS Kristiansand, which gave the bird a lift. Picture: RSPCA - Credit: Archant

RSPCA Inspector Emily Astillberry met with the crew of the FS Kristiansand, when they docked in Great Yarmouth, to collect the exhausted bird, before taking him up to the RSPCA's East Winch Wildlife Centre.

Insp Astillberry said: 'This poorly pigeon has had quite the journey.

'We suspect he had become lost and as he ventured further out to sea, became more and more exhausted. The oil rig was probably a welcome pit-stop to rest up, but when the crew found him, he was in a bad way and unable to fly.'

The crew on the oil rig called through to shore to let the RSPCA know they had found the bird.


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Before long, he was due to set sail on board the 3,500-tonne FS Kristiansand back to shore.

Insp Astillberry said: 'I met the supply vessel while she was refuelling in Great Yarmouth and the team handed the bird over to me.

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'He then had another journey, this time by van, to East Winch where he is being treated for weakness and dehydration, but he is otherwise okay so I hope he will be reunited with his owner soon.

'I'd like to say a big thank-you to the crew at the oil rig and on board the supply vessel who have looked after this suffering pigeon from the moment they found him. It's really lovely to know that they cared enough to call us and bring him back to shore.'

The Royal Pigeon Racing Association says pigeons sometimes 'come down for a rest' whilst racing or on training flights.

Anyone finding a lost bird is asked to see if it has a ring, which will usually have the owner's details stamped on it. Some also have an address and postcode stamped onto some of the feathers on their inner wing.

It says birds should be fed on uncooked rice or lentils - not bread. Any without a ring are almost certainly feral or wild pigeons.

Before he goes home to his loft, the oil rig pigeon won't go short of feathered friends during his stay at East Winch.

For staff at the wildlife hospital are also caring for around 200 orphaned ducklings which have become separated from their mothers at the moment - and expect the number to double as the birds' breeding season gets into full-swing.

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