One of the Queen’s Sandringham racing pigeons rescued in Scotland

A racing pigeon belonging to Queen Elizabeth II, which was rescued after it become lost in East Loth

A racing pigeon belonging to Queen Elizabeth II, which was rescued after it become lost in East Lothian near Edinburgh. It has now been returned to the royal loft at Sandringham estate in Norfolk. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. - Credit: PA

Animal welfare officers who rescued a lost pigeon in East Lothian were surprised to discover it had a royal owner - the Queen.

The Scottish SPCA was called when the exhausted bird was spotted at Traprain Terrace in Haddington on February 2.

Staff traced it back to its owner and the racing pigeon has now been returned to the royal loft 407 miles away at the Sandringham estate in Norfolk.

The charity's animal rescue officer Connie O'Neill said: 'I've rescued many pigeons during my career with the Scottish SPCA but this was certainly a first for me.

'I was really excited when I found out it was one of the Queen's racing pigeons.

'We were able to identity where the pigeon had come from using the ring number on its leg and arrangements were made for it to be collected.

'The poor bird was exhausted and it was a cold, dark and windy night when it was found. Thankfully someone contacted us as it would have been very easy prey for a cat.

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'It's quite common for racing pigeons to lose their way and become too tired to take off again. I'm really glad we were able to help in this instance.'

The royal loft at Sandringham is currently home to 160 mature pigeons along with 80 younger birds.

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