He arrived in Hampshire on a wing and a prayer – and with a little help from the Royal Navy.
Scrawny and dishevelled, his appearance is a far cry from a typical healthy baby pigeon that would normally not leave the nest until he was much bigger.
But now the future is looking bright for this fortunate fledgling – named Steve by the crew – after being gently nursed back from the brink of death by Commander Tim Henry’s caring team on board helicopter carrier HMS Ocean.
Steve the pigeon was discovered aboard the Royal Navy ship as it sailed back to Southampton via Plymouth.
The ship was about 10 days away from reaching the city’s port when the bedraggled bird was spotted cowering by a seaman.
With the tiny bird’s parents nowhere to be seen helicopter handler Sam Fry took to the Internet to find out how to care for him – and fed him by hand using a syringe.
Upon docking at Southampton Steve was handed over to the care of RSPCA inspector Tina Ward and he is now being nursed at the Stubbington Ark Animal Shelter in Fareham.
Insp Ward said: “This was certainly one of the most unusual places we’ve collected a bird from.
“The crew – especially Sam – and the captain of the ship, went above and beyond to care for this young bird who wouldn’t have survived without their help. We can’t thank them enough for their efforts.
“The future looks good for Steve – he just needs to build his strength to get ready for the wild and he can do that in our specialist aviaries now that he’s eating for himself.”
Steve will continue his rehabilitation at the charity’s dedicated West Hatch wildlife centre in Taunton before being released into the wild.
To find out how you can help the RSPCA’s Stubbington Ark Animal Shelter call 01329 666916 or visit stubbingtonark.org.uk.