Pigeons are not exactly uncommon birds to find hanging around. In many places they’re so numerous they’re considered a nuisance.
But one older man in Mexia, Alabama, became convinced that one particular pigeon hanging around his house was something special. For one thing, it had ID bands, and for another, it refused to leave his home.
Desperate to resolve the situation, the man reached out to the Monroe County Alabama Animal Shelter, and someone came to collect the animal from his home.
“Today we had a elderly gentleman ask us for help,” the shelter posted on June 29. “He had a pigeon with bands show up at his Mexia home. The pigeon would not leave he decided to seek help.
“Monica Leigh Morris followed the man to his home and was able to safely catch this beautiful bird. After arriving back at the shelter both Monica and Megan Bryan started working on tracking down the owner.
“They were able to get the numbers off the band, but also used our microchip scanner to help track down a webpage called North of England Homing Union. The ladies follow the instructions and was immediately contacted back by the owner! 4000 miles away in North East of England!!!!! Far Far AWAY!”
Owner Alan Todd told The Guardian that the bird, named Bob, had gone astray three weeks ago during a routine flight from the Channel Islands to Newcastle, England.
What would normally be a 10-hour flight got longer and longer until there was no hope of Bob the wayward bird making it home, despite the fact that he was a homing pigeon.
Todd’s guess is that the bird hitched a ride on a ship and decided to take a cruise across the ocean to Alabama, where he took off again.
“He wouldn’t have flown all that way,” Todd explained. “He was covered in oil — it could have been an oil tanker.”
Bob was underweight by the time his ruse was up, but he seemed in pretty good health otherwise.
The real question, though, is how will Bob get back?
His stateside rescuers and owner across the pond haven’t quite figured that out yet, but Bob is being well cared for in the meantime and Todd has started a GoFundMe to try to raise funds to get his homing pigeon home, and so far has amused enough people that he’s raised a little over $1,500 to that end.
“I’m Alan Bob is my pigeon in Monroeville Alabama and need to get him home and raise funds for the animal shelter and Marie Curie,” the fundraiser states.
Todd was even able to “video chat” with Bob several times and confirms that the bird is looking steadily better. No word on whether or not Bob wants to go back home, but either way, he’ll have caring people looking after him and has certainly set a record of some sort.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.