Paddleboarder rescues racing pigeon off Devon coast

Pigeon on paddleboard Image copyright Ladram Bay Holiday Park
Image caption Tory Pigott rescued the pigeon on her paddleboard

An unlucky racing pigeon twice attacked by hawks has been rescued at sea by a paddleboarder.

Tory Pigott was out with friends when she spotted the injured pigeon off Devon's south coast at Ladram Bay.

The hapless bird had originally set off from Dorset a month before, but was found injured in Plymouth and nursed back to health and released again.

Ms Pigott traced the pigeon's original owner in Hertfordshire, who has sent a courier to collect the bird.

Image copyright Ladram Bay Holiday Park
Image caption The pigeon is thought to have suffered two hawk attacks

She said: "We suddenly heard a flapping sound in the water and saw this pigeon desperately trying to crawl up the side of the rocks."

Ms Pigott jumped into the water to rescue the pigeon which was "completely sodden" and "distressed" with a cut to its neck.

She used the pigeon's identification number to trace the bird's owners, Ray Eccles and his son Brendan from Baldock, near Stevenage in Hertfordshire.

Brendan Eccles said the pigeon was released in a race from Blandford, Dorset, on 01 August and should have been home "in a few hours".

He said the four-month-old pigeon could have become disoriented and headed in the wrong direction.

The pigeon was thought to have been attacked by a hawk before being found injured in a garden in Plymouth.

Racing pigeon enthusiast Terry Luscombe, from Plymouth, looked after the bird for three weeks and "got him back to fitness" before releasing him on Monday to return to Hertfordshire.

Mr Luscombe said it appeared from the cut to the pigeon's neck he had been the victim of a second hawk attack that resulted in him landing in the water.

Image copyright Tory Pigott
Image caption Tory Pigott was out paddleboarding with friends when she spotted the pigeon

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