LOCAL people have been reminded to check their vehicles for birds after a man from Brae had a lucky escape when a nest under its bonnet went on fire.
RSPB Shetland manager Helen Moncrieff said a variety of methods can be used to discourage birds from nesting in their vehicle, such as using netting or keeping cars in garages.
Sean Fillingham said he noticed a burning smell when driving his Audi Quattro on Tuesday night, but he didn’t think it was coming from his car.
Only minutes after arriving back home in Brae he found black smoke and flames under the bonnet.
He grabbed a nearby hose to cool things down, but some damage was caused to parts of the engine.
“I smelled burning wood a few times [when I was driving] and thought it was just someone burning stuff,” Fillingham said.
“I stopped at my house and went in. I was in for a few minutes and the cat wanted out. That’s when I noticed the black smoke from under the bonnet.
“I rushed out and popped the catch. I thought it might be dangerous but I lifted the bonnet. The car was on fire but luckily a hose was right there so I managed to get it out.
“There was wiring and plastic damage but also fuel hoses, so I was very lucky. It’s a 1985 Audi Quattro coupe – my classic car and unreplaceable. It was parked near another car and a wood garage, so very lucky.”
His escapade with the burning bonnet incidentally came just days after he found a starling nest with eggs in his workmate’s van.
Fillingham added that he was unsure if there had been any eggs or birds in the nest which had caught fire.
Moncrieff said birds can also choose to nest in wheel arches as well as engines at this time of the year.
“The best thing to do is try to discourage birds from nesting in your vehicle,” she said.
“I’ve heard of people moving their car around regularly or keeping it in a garage, using netting and also filling in spaces in the engine with tin cans when stationary.
“If a bird does nest in your vehicle, Scottish Natural Heritage can issue a licence to remove the nest for health and safety reasons. Their licencing team can be called on 01463 725364 during office hours.”