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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 August 2006, 11:42 GMT 12:42 UK
Lost pigeons saved from islands
Racing pigeon on St Kilda (Pic: National Trust for Scotland)
One of the storm ruffled racing pigeons
Racing pigeons have been rescued from a remote Scottish island archipelago after being blown off course by storms.

The National Trust for Scotland (NTS), which owns St Kilda, said the pigeons faced starvation or falling prey to wild birds if they stayed.

Staff managed to catch five and they were taken to Harris, about 41 miles away in the Western Isles, by boat.

Nine pigeons have been spotted on St Kilda so far this year. One was killed by another bird, a great skua.

Those that do not fall prey to predators struggle to find food because of a lack of suitable vegetation.

The trust said it was believed some of the birds had started out from as far away as France.

'Can't fight'

The five lucky pigeons were taken to the Western Isles by Angus Campbell, who runs Kilda Cruises.

Sarah Money, NTS seabird and marine ranger said "They seem to get caught up in bad weather and that's what sends them so off-course, as they can't fight the gusts.

"They stand more of a chance of survival being let off on Harris than keeping them here on St Kilda."

St Kilda has dual World Heritage status from Unesco in recognition of the islands' natural and cultural heritage.


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