Pigeon keeps couple at home - for 17 years
An animal loving Austrian couple have not gone on holiday for over 17 years - after adopting an injured pigeon.
And Bertl and Irmi Reiterer are often unable to use the oven at their home in Salzburg as the bird uses it for a nest.
Mr Reiterer, 84, said: "I found her by the side of the road where she had obviously been hit by a car and had broken a wing.
"We gave her some food and had her treated by a vet and put her in the garage downstairs - that was in April 17 years ago.
"It was clear that because of her injuries she would never fly again and at Christmas when I accidentally left the door open she came inside and then hopped into the oven which had just been used and was still warm - and refused to come out. I guess she felt it was too cold down in the garage.
"We gave her a bit to eat in the oven - a few pieces of cornbread. The next morning when she was still there we gave her some water, and she sort of just remained."
The couple named the pigeon Susi, and say that they can't imagine life now without despite her advanced age.
Mrs Reiterer, 77, says that they have to wait until the pigeon decides to go for a walk around the house before they can use the dishwasher as it disturbs her while she is sleeping.
"I don't regret the fact that we haven't gone on holiday because of her - we didn't travel much anyway although we do have a hut in a ski district we can only go there for the day," she said.
Vet Heide Maria Müller said: "Susi is a very unusual case. I understand that pigeons can live up to 20 years. But in the wild no bird would manage to live that long.
"Obviously where she is, with plenty of good food and no predators, she has a good chance of reaching an even higher age."