AN ANIMAL-lover from Hucknall has come to the rescue of a top-pedigree racing pigeon that was blown so far off course that it ended up stranded almost 200 miles from home.
The exhausted bird was discovered by Jane Salmon in the garden of her home in the Westville area of the town.
Detective work revealed that the prized pigeon was the descendant of a champion bird and belonged to a couple in Annan, Scotland.
It was taking part in a race from Melton Mowbray to Scotland but didn’t make it.
Owners Tina and Philip Heslop thought the bird had been attacked by a hawk and they had lost it forever.
But they were eventually traced by Jane. Now the pigeon, which Jane and her family have christened Poppy, is set to be reunited with her owners.
Mum-of-two Jane (45) said: “I had gone out to collect some washing and spotted the pigeon, which seemed tame and walked towards me. I was a bit shocked.
“It almost had the mannerisms of a dog. It was as if it wanted to be stroked. But I could see it was exhausted.”
With the help of her daughters, three stepchildren and partner, Mark Turton, Jane managed to capture the pigeon.
She revealed that it had had a lucky escape because her two rottweiler dogs, Saffy and Zach, and her cats, Daisy and Molly, were in the house at the time!
Jane, who works for the chainstore Next, contacted the RSPCA. But it couldn’t help because the pigeon wasn’t injured.
She then appealed for help from Steve Powell, of the Nottingham Canine Hydrotherapy Centre on Watnall Road, Hucknall. He provided a large dog-cage in which the pigeon could be kept.
Jane then got in touch with the National Pigeon Association which, with the help of identity rings on the bird’s legs, traced it to the Heslops, who have more than 40 years’ experience in breeding.
Since then Jane has exchanged pictures of Poppy with the Heslops via Facebook.
She has even helped nurse the bird back to health after it became dehydrated.
It was hoped Poppy could be released and would fly home. But Jane says recent strong winds have blocked that plan.
Nevertheless a pigeon courier is scheduled to pick up the bird and return it to the Heslops who, through the Dispatch, have expressed their gratitude to Jane.