Blunder bird makes unexpected road trip in Godmanchester headteacher’s car

The stowaway blue tit in St Anne's head teacher Adrian Shepherd's car

The stowaway blue tit in St Anne's head teacher Adrian Shepherd's car - Credit: Archant

A BABY bird became an accidental stowaway when its first flight resulted in it doing a 100-mile round trip.

Adrian Shepherd, headteacher at St Anne’s Primary School, Godmanchester, was driving to a conference in St Albans to give a keynote speech on Thursday morning when he discovered the unexpected passenger.

He said: “I was heading towards St Neots and could hear fluttering but I had papers on the backseat and assumed, because the window was open, the wind was rustling them.

“It wasn’t until I heard a chirp that I realised it was a blue tit.”

Mr Shepherd said he presumed the chick was one of the fledglings from a nest box at St Anne’s, put up last year when the garden was developed.

A camera had been fitted, like those on the BBC’s Springwatch programme, and pupils had been following the family’s progress via a screen in reception. “I’d come into school early and was loading the resources I needed for the conference into the car,” he said.

“The doors and boot had been open so it must have flown straight in.”As it was too late to turn around, Mr Shepherd, who was with religious education co-ordinator Pauline Barker, managed to catch the bird and put it in a box, which had been full of prayers written by the children.

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At St Albans, he addressed aspiring headteachers ... but had to return to his car when the alarm went off.

“During the morning, it escaped,” he said. “It was fluttering around and set off the alarm.

“It wouldn’t be caught so was driven back, surfing on the backseat headrest the whole way home.”

Back at school, news of the bird’s plight had caused a flutter, as youngsters were midway through a project to create a newspaper.

“You couldn’t have planned it better,” said Mr Shepherd.

“The children took photos when I got back and interviewed me.

“They asked me if I’d named it and on the way back I’d called it Phileas, like Phileas Fogg, except it hadn’t quite gone around the world ... just to St Albans and back.”