Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Stowaway baby pigeons rescued by HMS Queen Elizabeth sailors

The baby pigeons discovered onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth were flown ashore to be looked after by the RSPCA (Ministry of Defence/PA) Photo: Press Association Images
  • Watch the video of the chicks below

Two baby pigeons who stowed away onboard the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth have been flown back ashore to be looked after by the RSPCA.

The chicks, nicknamed “carrier pigeons” by the crew, were discovered in a hidden nest on Britain’s biggest warship soon after it left Portsmouth Naval Base on Saturday.

The pair of motherless birds, who have been named F-35 and Lightning after the fighter jets which are to be tested during the ship’s deployment to the USA, are now being cared for by the RSPCA.

The chicks were fed regularly with a mix of porridge and warm water, a navy spokesman said Credit: Ministry of Defence/PA

“The fluffy pair, estimated to be around 10-days-old, were found huddled together by a sailor who heard tweeting coming from a remote ledge high up on one of the ship’s boat decks.

“A careful rescue plan was put in place and the chicks were brought into the warmth by sailors from the ship’s seamanship department.

“After much research on ‘what baby pigeons eat’, they have been fed at regular intervals over 24 hours, with a mix of porridge and warm water, administered from a syringe provided by the ship’s medical centre with the tip of a latex glove attached.

“The chicks’ beaks eagerly popped through a hole in the tip, hungrily sucking the porridge out, emulating the way they feed from their parents.”

– A navy spokesperson
The birds were flown to shore by navy helicopter Credit: Ministry of Defence/PA

The birds were then taken by a navy Merlin MK4 helicopter from 845 Naval Air Squadron heading back to RNAS Yeovilton, Somerset, where they were handed over to the RSPCA to be cared for at its rescue centre in West Hatch near Taunton.

While our focus for the deployment is getting the new jets onboard for the first time, we are also prepared to conduct humanitarian relief, should we be called upon to do so – we just didn’t think that would be quite so soon.”

– Lieutenant Commander Lindsey Waudby