Feathers flew in a Stormont committee meeting this week, but not because of any hard-fought political dispute or personal falling-out.
Instead, a man named Colin Pidgeon provided the Northern Ireland Assembly’s finance committee a moment of levity when his cat brought a still-live pigeon into his home.
The Research and Information Service officer was appearing remotely when the unexpected delivery took place.
But he handled the interruption with calm assurance, swiftly capturing the apparently unscathed bird and returning it out of the window to safety.
“I have literally just caught a pigeon, I’m really sorry about this,” he told committee members watching from Parliament Buildings in Belfast.
Hoping for a better view of proceedings, deputy committee chair Paul Frew petitioned Assembly broadcasters to expand his section of the television to full-screen mode.
Committee chair Steve Aiken tried to offer some advice. “Colin, go and put the pigeon outside, we’ll skip that question, you just go and put the pigeon outside,” he suggested.
Mr Pidgeon confirmed the bird appeared to be unharmed, saying: “It flew off so the cat hasn’t killed it.”
Then Mr Frew joked: “We’ll know what type of soup you’re eating tonight, Colin.”
Once Mr Pidgeon returned to his seat he was offered universal praise for how he dealt with the unwilling intruder.
“Congratulations Colin, well done,” said Mr Aiken.
Mr Frew added: “You kept your composure the whole way through that
Mr Pidgeon assured the committee that such goings-on were not a regular feature of his home life.
“I’ve never been interrupted by wildlife before,” he insisted.
Additional reporting by Press Association