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Catch that pigeon! West Berkshire and North Hampshire residents get unexpected visitors after thousands of prized homing pigeons go missing



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People from across West Berkshire and North Hampshire have been visited by some friendly pigeons recently, following the news that thousands of the prized birds that were released at the weekend went missing.

It is thought that up to 10,000 pigeons have gone astray as a result of a solar storm creating unusual atmospheric conditions.

This pigeon was spotted by Hazel Fleming in Woolton Hill outside her front door.

This friendly pigeon was spotted in Woolton Hill. Ref: 26-0521d
This friendly pigeon was spotted in Woolton Hill. Ref: 26-0521d

Mrs Fleming said: “I opened the door to shoo it away because we wanted to step outside and it just looked at me, but didn’t budge.”

Mrs Fleming said she realised 24-hours later that this was a friendly pigeon.

She added: “I became concerned about the pigeon’s welfare, so I looked up what to do and fed it some water and seeds, but I’m not brave enough to pick it up.”

This friendly pigeon has been taking a break in Woolton Hill. Ref: 26-0521e
This friendly pigeon has been taking a break in Woolton Hill. Ref: 26-0521e

The tag on the pigeons leg is quite clearly visible, but it doesn’t seem in any hurry to leave.

Five days later and the pigeon is still wandering around outside Mrs Fleming’s house.

She said: “I’m hoping it will gather the strength to fly back home – wherever that is – but it’s definitely put on a bit of weight in the time it has been here.”

Nicola Rowles from Colthrop, Thatcham, contacted NewburyToday after her husband found a stray pigeon while carrying out some gardening work in Theale.

Brian the pigeon who was rescued by the Rowles family
Brian the pigeon who was rescued by the Rowles family

He brought the pigeon back to their home and Mrs Rowles said the lost bird is extremely friendly.

She said: "My husband has handled racing pigeons before and so we put him in a cage and have fed and watered him. We registered his tag details on the official pigeon racing website and his owner got in touch."

The owner lives in Rotherham and was thrilled that the Rowles had rescued one of his birds. Mrs Rowles said: "We have named him Brian, as that is the name of his owner, and we will set him free this weekend, so he can fly back to Yorkshire."

She added that the pigeon coos quite happily in his temporary home, but is a bit wary of their bulldog when he comes to say hello.

The Rowles will release 'Brian' so he can return to Rotherham, once he has rested
The Rowles will release 'Brian' so he can return to Rotherham, once he has rested

If you spot homing pigeons that have clearly gone off course then contact the Royal Pigeon Racing Association – you can find instructions on how to report a stray pigeon here https://www.rpra.org/stray-reporting/

10,000 pigeons vanished during a 170-mile race - one pigeon has been spotted in Woolton Hill ..Ref: 26-0521f
10,000 pigeons vanished during a 170-mile race - one pigeon has been spotted in Woolton Hill ..Ref: 26-0521f
This pigeon has put on a bit of weight since being found in Woolton Hill this week. Ref: 26-0521a
This pigeon has put on a bit of weight since being found in Woolton Hill this week. Ref: 26-0521a
This friendly pigeon has been taking a break in Woolton Hill. Ref: 26-0521b
This friendly pigeon has been taking a break in Woolton Hill. Ref: 26-0521b


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