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Sunday 20 August 2017

Nine lives: Bird ‘in flying form’ after spending 14 miles trapped in car grille

Caoimhe pictured with the lucky kestrel
Caoimhe pictured with the lucky kestrel
Daire Courtney

Daire Courtney

And they say only cats have nine lives...

A kestrel is alive and well after spending the 14 miles from Mullingar, Co Westmeath to Ballymahon, Co Longford trapped in the grille of a car.

Pat O’Toole saw a bird hitting the front of his car while driving through Mullingar yesterday evening and assumed it had got away safely.

“I didn't think much of it at the time as I assumed it just had a lucky escape," he told

When he arrived home, his granddaughter noticed the bird sticking out of the grille of his car. They assumed it had died until they saw its wings flapping.

“My granddaughter Caoimhe was very upset as she has a great love of birds and animals but I promised I’d give it a proper burial. A few minutes later she came running out saying she’d seen the wings flapping from her bedroom window while she was studying.”

The kestrel survived a 14-mile journey on the car grille
The kestrel survived a 14-mile journey on the car grille

It took Pat, his neighbour Johnny Maye and Caoimhe to free the bird from the car grille, but it was very much alive and only missing a few feathers.

"It didn't look injured, just very quiet. We brought it to the vet and they said all it needed was some water, food and rest."

After spending the night in the local vet’s, the kestrel is now on its way to the ISPCA sanctuary in Kildare for a little R&R so that they can make sure it’s fit and healthy before being released back into the wild.

“I rang the vet this morning to check up and it’s doing very well – in flying form, literally!” Pat added.

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