A PHEASANT which was hit by a car and got stuck inside the vehicle’s front grille for more than five hours has been released back into the wild.
Animal rescue officers said they were “baffled” as to how the female bird became trapped behind the grille of a brand new Volkswagen Golf.
The car’s owner, Derek Wilkinson, realised he had hit a bird as he was travelling through Longniddry, in East Lothian, on Thursday, but he assumed it was dead.
Hours later as he was taking rubbish out to the bin at his home near Morningside, in Edinburgh, Mr Wilkinson saw feathers poking out from underneath the front of his vehicle.
The grille was removed by engineers from the RAC and the bird was taken into the care of animal welfare charity, the Scottish SPCA.
Rescue officer Steph Grant said: “This pheasant is incredibly lucky to be alive and I’m still baffled as to how she got inside the grille.
“Derek said he realised he had accidentally hit a bird while driving along a road in Longniddry that afternoon, but there was nowhere to pull over.
“As the impact was so hard, he assumed it had died and would be lying by the side of the road. He didn’t notice the pheasant when he returned home but, later on when he was taking out rubbish, he spotted feathers sticking out of the front of his car.
“The RAC came out and removed the entire grille to free the pheasant. In total, we think she had been trapped for around five and a half hours.
“Remarkably, the only injury she had was slight bruising around one of her eyes.
“However, to be on the safe side, I took her to our wildlife centre to be monitored in case she had any internal injuries. Thankfully, she was fine and has since been successfully released.
“We’d advise anyone who believes they may have hit a wild animal to pull over if it is safe to do so.”