Homing pigeons are incredible animals. They have a unique ability to travel long distances and still find their way home, which has made them useful as messengers, including in times of war.
But that doesn’t mean they’re always 100 percent accurate: sometimes homing pigeons get a little sidetracked and need help getting back home.
That was the case recently, after an animal shelter helped out a pigeon who was thousands of miles from home.
According to a post from the Monroe County Alabama Animal Shelter, last month an elderly man came to them asking for help with a pigeon, who showed up at his home in Mexia, Alabama and “would not leave.”
Shelter staff went to his home to help, and were able to safely catch the bird. They them brought it back to the rescue, and found a band on the bird’s leg with a tracking number.
This led the staff to a website for the North of England Homing Union, and they followed instructions on how to return a wayward bird.
They were finally put in contact with the pigeon’s owner — and discovered that the pigeon had come all the way from Gateshead, England, 4,000 miles away!
The four-year-old homing pigeon was named “Bob,” and the bird’s owner Alan Todd explained to The Guardian that Bob was only supposed to take a routine 10-hour flight between his home in northeast England and the Channel Islands.
However, Bob got a little lost — and ended up on a voyage to the US. “He wouldn’t have flown all that way. He was covered in oil – it could have been an oil tanker,” Alan said.
According to the shelter, Alan was “extremely happy” to hear from them, and they started working on a “game plan to return this champion pigeon to its owner.”
They took the pigeon to the vet and reported that Bob was underweight from its travel but otherwise “pretty good.”
Alan says that he is planning to travel to the US to retrieve his bird, and he’s grateful that Bob is in such good hands.
“They are obviously looking after him very well – when I saw him yesterday he didn’t look in a good state, but looking at him today he looks a lot better just in one day,” he told The Guardian.
In the meantime, Bob seems to be enjoying his vacation across the pond.
Bob is definitely a long way from home, but we’re glad to see he’s in such good hands with caring people helping him get back to the UK!
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