The herring gull, which was spotted by an eagle-eyed passer-by in a car park in Ashford, Kent, is thought to have been hit by the Mazda 6 and become wedged behind the grille by the force of the impact.
RSPCA rescuer Tina Nash, who was called in to free the gull, said the driver likely had no idea it was there.
She said: “The bird was completely wedged up behind the grille and there’s no way he’d have been able to get out himself.”
The bird was taken care of at the Mallydams Wood Wildlife Centre in East Sussex following the incident at the end of June, and was found to have no substantial injuries.
It was subsequently released at Pett Level beach, near Hastings.
Ms Nash said: “After a road traffic collision and being stuck in the car grille like that I was convinced the poor bird would have major life-threatening injuries so to see him, just a few weeks [later], given a clean bill of health and released back to the wild with lots of other birds gives me a huge sense of pride.
“It’s rewarding moments like these that make me love my job.”