Published: 16:00, 08 January 2016
A council has been left stumped after a dove took up residence in the town's Christmas tree.
The 12 days of Christmas may be a fading memory but the message doesn't seem to have reached the feathered fowl found nesting in the tree in Paddock Wood on Wednesday.
Council contractors taking down the town's festive decorations discovered the collared dove and her egg sitting pretty in the branches of the evergreen next to the war memorial in Station Road.
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Parish clerk Nichola Reay organised the town's Christmas decorations. She said because of the legal protection afforded to bird nests and eggs, the Christmas tree may have to remain up until the chicks are fully fledged- this will be around Valentines Day in mid-February.
She said: "It is a lovely story. I hope she manages to raise her babies.
"I would only ask people to stay away from the tree and leave the dove in peace."
VIDEO: The dove nesting in the tree
Martin Coath, chairman of the Kent Ornithological Society, said it is not unusual to see collared doves nesting in suburban areasat this time of year.
He said: "They are quite tame creatures, often found in the domestic environment. If they have a nice Christmas tree it is some protection from the wind and weather.
"The way this has been handled shows a lot of concern for birds and the environment. It is rather heartening to hear people have the about gone the right way about this."
Collared doves, named for the distinctive black band at their necks, are one of the UK's most pervasive species. Their plumage ispale brown and they are known to thrive in built-up towns and villages.
Under UK law it is illegal to disturb wild birds or their nests. Flouting this rule can result in a six-month prison sentence and a maximum fine of £5,000.
More by this authorDavid Gazet