Published: September 3, 2013
Swallows recovered from plane's undercarriage arrive at Secret World

When it came to teaching her young to fly, an enterprising swallow mum decided to go one better than the rest of the flock - by building her nest in an aircraft undercarriage!

But the three tiny chicks suddenly found themselves on the move when their BAe 146 cargo plane was towed a quarter of a mile from its open air storage area and into Flybe's maintenance hanger at Exeter International Airport.

There, the in-transit brood was discovered by the airline's surprised engineering team during a routine inspection.

Aircraft support supervisor Tony Arpino said: "We had no idea the nest was in there when we moved the aircraft and there was no sign of the mother bird. It took quite an effort to get the nest out. It was really well stuck in place."

But that was not the end of the trio’s travels since, having been carefully removed and placed in a comfortable cardboard box, a Flybe driver then drove them 50 miles to Secret World Wildlife Rescue Centre near Burnham.

Mr Arpino said: "The chicks have already travelled around quite a bit with no effort on their part so hopefully they will go on and thrive."

Secret World founder Pauline Kidner told "The baby swallows are none the worse for their adventure and will be hand-reared until they can be released back into the wild."

The centre has cared for hundreds of birds during the spring and summer and is now preparing the site for the autumn arrivals, many of which will be hedgehogs. For information on how to help, visit the charity's website.

Pictured: The young swallows which were rescued from the undercarriage of a plane at Exeter Airport and are now being cared for by Secret World


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