Three weeks ago, a homing pigeon named Bob set out on a routine trip that was supposed to take about 10 hours to complete.
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It all started when Bob was released by his owner, Alan Todd. The trained bird was meant to fly from the Channel Islands to Newcastle, England, a journey he’d made many times in the past. Instead, Bob wound up in a backyard in Mexia, Alabama in the United States – that’s 4,000 miles from where he started!
When the Alabama homeowner spotted Bob in his yard, he thought it was strange that the bird refused to leave. Eventually, he realized it must be a trained pigeon, so he called the Monroe County Animal Shelter for assistance.
The shelter sent someone out to capture Bob, and they brought him straight to the vet to get checked out. Aside from being dehydrated and “covered in oil,” he was in perfect health!
Back at the shelter, they were able to scan his microchip and look up the tracking number on his leg tag. They quickly tracked Bob back to Alan in England who was shocked, yet delighted, that someone had found his lost bird.
“We are currently working on a game plan to return this champion pigeon to its owner, who was extremely happy to hear from us,” the shelter wrote on Facebook.
As for how Bob managed to travel thousands of miles over the Atlantic Ocean on his own, Alan guesses he hitched a ride on a ship.
“He wouldn’t have flown all that way,” Alan said. “He was covered in oil — it could have been an oil tanker.”
Alan has now started a GoFundMe to help fund his flight to Alabama so he can retrieve his bird. Meanwhile, the shelter will care for Bob for as long as it takes. They’ve even arranged for Bob and Alan to catch up over FaceTime!
Normally, homing pigeons use magnetoreception to find their way home, even after traveling long distances, but Bob’s must be on the fritz! We’re so glad he found his way to safety after his unplanned trans-Atlantic journey.
Don’t forget to share Bob’s adventure to make a friend smile.
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