The roof of Sylvia Whittall’s home in Glenridding Drive, Barrow, has been the temporary home for a white racing pigeon since it landed on her eaves on Saturday.

The bird is believed to be one of a number tasked with racing across the English Channel from Belgium on Saturday in a bid to mark the centenary of the First World War.

During the war thousands of pigeons were used across all theatres of the conflict, often the only way vitally important messages could be relayed to and from the battlefield.

 Our advice would be to leave it alone and eventually it will decide it is ready to continue on its flight and it will return home

When released the birds will make their way home to their individual lofts found across Cumbria.

However one of the birds, which Mrs Whittall has traced to an owner in Silloth, has stopped off in Barrow and has been gathering its energy after being forced to take a pit stop.

“It’s a beautiful bird but it was very tired and weary when it first arrived on Saturday,” Mrs Whittall said.

“It has improved since it arrived and we’ve been putting out some food for it.”

A spokesman for the Royal Pigeon Racing Association explained that if a bird becomes too tired during a race it will take a break until it recovers sufficiently to continue.

“It can be quite common, especially at this time of year when the weather is warmer and there’s a lot of grain in the fields, for some pigeons to become exhausted and stop for a while,” the spokesman said.

“This might be for a few hours or even a few days but as long as they have access to water, and grain, and they are able to fly down to it, then our advice would be to leave it alone and eventually it will decide it is ready to continue on its flight and it will return home.”

The pigeon on Mrs Whittall’s roof is registered with a WHU prefix, used by the Welsh Homing Pigeon Union, but further enquiries established its owner is based in Silloth.


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