Pigeon 'left to suffer' after getting stuck in bird-deterrent netting at Preston railway station

A pigeon was reportedly left to “starve to death” after it got stuck in bird-deterrent netting at Preston railway station.

By Sean Gleaves
Friday, 8th April 2022, 7:24 pm
Updated Monday, 11th April 2022, 12:20 pm

Animal rescue charities and residents alike have criticised Network Rail after a pigeon got stuck in netting at the railway station on Thursday (April 7).

Firefighters attempted to rescue the bird for approximately 50 minutes, but “due to the position of the pigeon this was not possible to do safely”.

A spokesman for the RSPCA added: “We are now liaising with Network Rail to ensure that this situation can be resolved as quickly as possible.”

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A pigeon became entangled in the netting at Preston railway station. (Credit: Kelvin Stuttard)

Avanti West Coast also confirmed they were “aware of this and [were] working with Network Rail to resolve the situation”.

But locals claimed Network Rail were “literally waiting for the pigeon to die” and their inaction caused unnecessary suffering.

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Clare Kinder, from Kinder Bird Rescue in Blackburn, said: “They’re claiming the overhead power lines are causing a health and safety risk, but my argument would be someone put the netting up there; therefore, someone should be able to take it down.

Animal rescue charities and residents criticised Network Rail for their slow response to rescue the bird. (Credit: Kelvin Stuttard)

“They’re also in control of the power so turn it off. It’s not rocket science, but I think it’s partly because it’s a pigeon.

“A lot of people don’t value pigeons in general so their life is considered meaningless, which is wrong.”

Brambles Wildlife Rescue in Blackpool also argued Network Rail should turn the power off to help the stranded bird.

Writing to the Lancashire Post, a spokesman said: “They could have turned the power off overnight whilst no trains were coming into the station but they didn’t.

Avanti West Coast and the RSPCA said they were working with Network Rail to resolve the situation. (Credit: Kelvin Stuttard)

“They have had hundreds of calls yesterday and done nothing.”

Pigeons are considered to be one of the most intelligent birds on the planet.

They are one of only a small number of species to pass the mirror test – an experiment that measures self-awareness by determining whether an animal can recognise its own reflection.

The only other animals to pass this test of self-recognition are chimpanzees, bonobos, orangutans, dolphins, elephants, and humans.

“A life is a life. It doesn’t matter what it is,” Clare added.

“Just take it [the netting] down and then we don’t have this happening again.”