Pigeon rescued after flying into shop's chocolate fountain

THEY are renowned for sculpting chocolate in all shapes, sizes and fillings, but few have heard of Thorntons' troublesome chocolate pigeons.

Staff at the chain's Princes Street store were left in a flutter on Saturday morning when a pigeon flew into the store and homed in on the chocolate fountain.

The panicked bird – who has gained the nickname Wonka – tried to escape through a window, but found its wings weighed down by the flowing chocolate and staff had to call in the SSPCA.

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"The animal rescue crews thought it was a hoax at first," said Thorntons sales assistant Vicky McMillan. "But, when we assured them we were serious, they sent out the new girl."

SSPCA ambulance driver Fiona Thorburn, who started that morning following her training period with the animal welfare charity, was dispatched to check it out.

She said: "I was doubtful, to say the least, because it was my first day on call by myself and I thought someone was winding me up.

"But, sure enough, when I got there, the pigeon was covered in chocolate and was unable to fly.

"The staff had originally shooed it out of the shop but later noticed the chocolate had dried to its tail feathers, meaning it could only walk.

"I caught it in a net and took it to our Wildlife Rescue Centre in Fife where it is recovering well."

Rescue Centre Manager Colin Seddon added: "Because pigeons live in the street, they often get themselves into all sorts of trouble and this isn't the first we've cared for. However, this is the first I've ever heard of that has managed to cover itself in chocolate.

"It was easy enough to clean and after a bit of rest we'll release it, probably in a week or so."

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While the bird survived the ordeal virtually intact, Thorntons was forced to throw out more than 50 worth of chocolate that was ruined in the process.

Staff also revealed that Wonka was not the first pigeon to wreak havoc in their store.

Ms McMillan, 25, who lives in Haymarket, added: "About two years ago there were three birds that flew into the shop and landed in the chocolate fountain. That cost us over 100 worth of chocolate.

"Short of keeping the doors closed there's very little we can do to keep them out, but it doesn't happen very often."

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