A MAN who broke his back in a fall while rescuing a friend's pet hawk will recover.
Doctors have told Phil Harrison he will be able to walk again.
Mr Harrison, of Cleckheaton, had a miracle escape after falling 30ft down a disused mill chimney last month.
But even more serious injuries were prevented because he landed on a 6-inch deep pile of bird poo!
The 52-year-old, who had scaled the old building to rescue his pal's pet hawk, plunged down the shaft to what could have been sudden death after wire mesh gave way under his weight.
But amazingly, Phil, who broke his back in the fall, owes his life to his landing being cushioned by a deep covering of pigeon droppings.
And although Phil is still laid up in bed he is home from hospital and has been told he will make an eventual full recovery.
The drama on February 11 unfolded when Phil started looking for the hawk, called Nala, after it escaped from his friend's aviary three days before.
The bird's owner Alan Webster, from Cleckheaton, tracked the hungry hawk to the abandoned mill after various sightings across the town.
After spotting the three-year-old bird of prey perched high up on the roof they decided to scale the old building to recover him.
But as Phil grabbed Nala high above ground level, wire meshing supporting him crumbled, sending him plummeting to the ground.
Unbelievably, he still managed to keep hold of the bird despite breaking his back.
Nine rescue teams from across West Yorkshire rushed to the scene fearing the worst and were amazed to find Phil trapped but in good spirits.
Worried doctors at Dewsbury District Hospital thought he would never walk again.
But it now appears he will make a full recovery
Father-of-six Alan, 41, said: "None of us can believe what has happened.
"It's amazing to think that Phil's life has been saved by a few inches of bird droppings.
"The first week or so afterwards was terrible because we weren't sure whether he would walk again - but doctors now think he'll recover.
"He's broken a vertebra and will have to wear a corset for six months."
Cleckheaton Fire Station Blue Watch crew manager Warren Ellison said: "Fortunately he landed on six inches of pigeon droppings which broke his fall because they are soft, although not very pleasant.
"He is lucky to be alive."