US Racing Pigeon That Survived 13,000 km Journey to Face Euthanasia in Australia

As per reports, the bird went missing during a race in the US state of Oregon last October, before turning up in Melbourne almost two months later.

Published: January 17, 2021 11:18 AM IST

By Trending Desk | Edited by Rajashree Seal

US Racing Pigeon That Survived 13,000 km Journey to Face Euthanasia in Australia

New Delhi: A racing pigeon that has survived an extraordinary journey of 13,000-kilometer (8,000-mile) Pacific Ocean crossing from the United States to find a new home in Australia will be euthanised by authorities as they consider the bird a quarantine risk and might be carrying diseases.

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As per reports, the bird went missing during a race in the US state of Oregon last October, before turning up in Melbourne almost two months later. However, according to officials, the pigeon, which has been named Joe, after the US president-elect, Joe Biden, poses a “direct biosecurity risk” to Australia’s bird population and poultry industry, and hence will be put to death.

A resident of Melbourne, Kevin Celli-Bird, who found the bird said that it was exhausted when it arrived on his backyard on December 26 December. Speaking to the Associated Press, Celli-Bird said, “He was pretty emaciated so I crushed up a dry biscuit and left it out there for him.”

“It rocked up at our place on Boxing Day. I’ve got a fountain in the backyard and it was having a drink and a wash. He was pretty emaciated so I crushed up a dry biscuit and left it out there for him,” Celli-Bird said.

“Next day, he rocked back up at our water feature, so I wandered out to have a look at him because he was fairly weak and he didn’t seem that afraid of me and I saw he had a blue band on his leg. Obviously he belongs to someone, so I managed to catch him,” he said.

After some research over the internet, Celli-Bird discovered that the bird was registered to an owner in Alabama and was last seen during a pigeon race in the western US state of Oregon on October 29. And, after news of Joe’s appearance made headlines in Australia, Celli-Bird was contacted by officials from the the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service who were concerned about the threat of infection.

“They say if it is from America, then they’re concerned about bird diseases. They wanted to know if I could help them out. I said, to be honest, I can’t catch it. I can get within 500mm of it and then it moves,” said Celli-Bird. He said quarantine authorities were now considering contracting a professional bird catcher.

As per experts, the pigeon most likely hitched a ride on a cargo ship to cross the Pacific.

The pigeon reportedly spends every day in Celli-Bird’s backyard, sometimes sitting side-by-side with a native dove on a pergola as Celli-Bird has been feeding it since it arrived.

“I think that he just decided that since I’ve given him some food and he’s got a spot to drink, that’s home,” he said.

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Published Date: January 17, 2021 11:18 AM IST