Members at a Kingston golf club are getting in a flap over a birdie that has taken up residence in the club grounds.
When a bedraggled Walter the pigeon arrived at Coombe Wood Golf Club about five weeks ago, Phil Wright, long serving professional at the club, took a shine to him and nursed him back to life.
Since then he has flocked to the pro shop every day to spend the day pottering around with his new friend.
“It was love at first flight,” joked club employee Tony Stenson. “I think he’s fallen in love with him, he goes everywhere with him. He just sits there looking at him adoringly all day.”
Walter, named after American actor Walter Pidgeon, who starred in How Green Was My Valley, swoops down every morning when he sees Mr Wright arrive and tucks into a breakfast of seeds.
He then spends the day with him in the workshop, where he has his own favourite screwdriver.
“He likes picking up the tools but he hasn’t built a golf club yet,” said Mr Wright. “He’s a great little character. It sounds a bit daft saying it out loud.
“I don’t know whether he’s a pigeon that thinks he’s a human. Maybe he doesn’t know he’s a pigeon. He’s quite a young bird.”
Most members are pleased to have Walter around, and say hello to him when they arrive.
Member Alex Williams, 15, said: “He’s cool. He’s a smart bird, really awesome.”
Golfer Jenny Tracey also admitted to being “a fan.”
Another less enthused member said: “If he eats one of those plants he won’t be around for very long. He’s a flying rat.”
One ornithophobic woman recently had to call for help when she found Walter hanging around the ladies changing rooms, because she was too scared to walk past him.
He often takes himself on walks around the building and has been known to spend time in the bar where he gets special meals if he’s lucky.
His lack of toilet training has meant visits are limited though.
Asked if his Surrey Comet fame will change will change him, Mr Wright said: “Maybe he’s just using me. I hope we’ll remain friends and he won’t forget about me. He’ll probably stop talking to me now.”