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So you return home from work, eager to greet your pigeon, and what do you discover? No pigeon. Result: heart racing uncontrollably, panic stations armed and ready to explode.

This is what happened to Richard when he opened the bedroom door (fully expecting Elmo to greet him with joyous cooings). A vacant room. Pigeon missing.

I had been home earlier and when I left I put Elmo in the bedroom. I remember this distinctly because I felt bad in having to leave him so soon after returning home (I was only home for about half an hour). So I know I put Elmo in the room. I know I closed the door. So where’s Elmo?

Richard starts calling Elmo’s name and searching behind the door, under the bed, and then he looks behind the stack of books (that are covered with a cloth) by the radiator. And there’s Elmo, stuck between the books and the radiator, cooing his head off now that he’s seen Richard.

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The space where Elmo was stuck.

Richard shifts the pile of books and retrieves his pigeon. Elmo is very happy to be rescued and starts dancing about. He’s covered in dust and loose feathers but otherwise unharmed. We don’t know how long he was stuck there for (I was away for an hour) nor how he managed to get himself in that situation. He doesn’t usually fly onto the books but I think Elmo got upset when I left him and he flapped about trying to find me and ended up falling by accident. Poor boy. We’ll have to move the books now so it doesn’t happen again (a bigger bookcase is on my “to buy” list so I can have all my books on display).

As you can imagine, Elmo received lots of cuddles and kisses after his ordeal. We too felt the need to recover from the experience and pigeon cuddles does the trick. :)

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Elmo is fine!

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Happy to be rescued.


I’d like to introduce you to a special little fella who I’ve named Mr Tippler.

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He’s a Highflyer Tippler breed and he was found in a garden, lost and ill, and was then brought to the wildlife rescue centre (where I work) for care. He’s been with us for over a month now and is still ill, however, he’s receiving his medication and is being support fed, and he’s gradually putting on weight.

At first Mr Tippler absolutely hated the sight of me and would attack me viciously. Even though he was so thin and weak he still had the energy to tell me off! But after Mr Tippler realised that I am the bearer of food and good will, he started to warm to me, and now he greets me enthusiastically when he sees me! Love it! :)

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Mr Tippler was found about 70 miles away from his home. I found the number of his owner stamped on his primary flight feathers and called the number to let the owner know we had his pigeon but that the pigeon is ill and not ready to be returned yet. The owner thanked me for letting him know but said we were too far away to arrange collection and that I could keep the pigeon. Fair enough, I guess.

So we’re caring for our special little guy and willing him to get better. He’ll be at my work for a long while I think before he’s ready for his new home. I must say the highlight of my job now is to be greeted and have my fingers nibbled by friendly Mr Tippler! :)


Very interesting story. It’s amazing that this pigeon kept trying to return to her hatch-home despite all the signs that she wasn’t wanted. Poor dear! Thankfully now the owner realises that he shouldn’t try to give her away anymore, otherwise she’d be making the journey again and again.

Boomerang the racing pigeon returns to the owner who gave her away TEN years ago

By David Wilkes
Last updated on 19th June 2008

She is no spring chicken, and appears to have spent a few years roosting rough. But Boomerang the pigeon has lost neither her homing instinct  -  nor her sense of occasion. After ten years away, she suddenly turned up at the home of the man who raised her. And on Father’s Day, no less.

Loft and found: After ten years of cooing and fro-ing, Boomerang flies back

Loft and found: After ten years of cooing and fro-ing, Boomerang flies back

At first, Dino Reardon thought the bedraggled bird running towards him at his home in Skipton, North Yorkshire, was a stray.

‘I checked the tag and nearly collapsed when I saw who it was,’ he said. ‘I just couldn’t believe it. She could barely stand up and couldn’t even make it into the aviary, she was just exhausted. I spent all Sunday feeding her glucose and honey to try and get her energy back from the journey.’

Her return was not completely unexpected, however  -  as her name suggests. Boomerang’s homing instinct is the stuff of legend among pigeon fanciers.

The 13-year-old bird first made headlines back in 1998, when Mr Reardon gave her to a friend in Algeciras, southern Spain, after retiring from breeding racing pigeons. Boomerang promptly flew the 1,200 miles back home.

Boomerang the pigeon

Home to roost: Boomerang is the daughter of famous racing pigeon Bluey

Mr Reardon immediately gave her to another breeder in Filey, North Yorkshire  -  but she returned to his pigeon loft again. Finally, still in the same year, Mr Reardon gave her to his friend Alf Pennington in Lancashire. Mr Reardon had not seen her since… until Sunday.

It is not known exactly where she had flown from, as Mr Pennington is thought to have died five years ago.

‘I don’t have a clue were she’s been since Alf died but I’m glad she’s home,’ said Mr Reardon. Boomerang’s feats are all the more remarkable because she is not a racing bird. The daughter of Bluey Champion, a winner of 17 national titles, she was kept for breeding.

She must have inherited her homing skills from her father, who was once ‘birdnapped’ and had his wings clipped by thieves, but escaped and walked 60 miles back to Mr Reardon’s home. Pigeons have a lifespan of three to five years in the wild, but live to around 15 in captivity.

Boomerang’s return has attracted interest from breeders as far afield as South Africa, who have been phoning constantly since her reappearance. But yesterday Mr Reardon – whose pigeons come from stock which have been in his Italian family for 200 years – said that she will be staying put.

‘She will be going nowhere from now on,’ he added. ‘She is staying here and will be looked after for the rest of her life. She has already paired up and if she lays any eggs they will be staying with me.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1027484/Boomerang-racing-pigeon-returns-owner-gave-away-TEN-years-ago.html#ixzz19nyuyUHK


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Such a handsome pigeon!

Racing (or homing) pigeons are bred to fly home in a race against time. Some get lost and land in gardens, tired and hungry. Some get attacked by sparrow hawks and are found injured.

I love racing pigeons. They’re big, chunky birds with lovely faces. The ones that I have seen are mostly healthy and just tired and hungry from getting lost. I’ve also seen ones that have been attacked by sparrow hawks and have injuries and feather loss. A few I’ve seen are seriously ill and thin and require longer care.

The saddest case that I’ve come across was a racing pigeon that appeared with a feral pigeon to the garden at my work. At first glance it looked like it was a healthy lost racer that had paired up with a feral and come down for food and water. But after watching them a moment I realised that the racer had a horrific injury to its crop – a gaping hole from which all the seed the racer picked up fell out of. It was horrible to watch. We set up a humane cage trap to capture the racer, and after a day and a half we finally caught it. The crop injury was too big and the vet was unable to repair it so the poor racing pigeon was put to sleep. I was very upset about it because I kept thinking about how much the racer had suffered: it had been so hungry and kept trying to eat but the seed just fell out as soon as it was swallowed.

The guidelines for finding a racer is to check the numbers on the leg band and contact the owner. It is their pigeon and should be returned – if they want it back, that is. Some racing pigeon owners want their lost or injured pigeons back, but some don’t. If you find a racer and have contacted the owner, please let them know that you will find an alternative home if they don’t want the pigeon back (e.g. at a pigeon friendly rescue centre). Give them that option. Some people say that the owners will just kill the pigeon if it is returned because an injured racer or a racer that gets lost is not worth anything (since it did not or is not capable of winning the race). Other people say that the owners will give the racing pigeon a second chance (e.g. it may be a young pigeon that needs more training). Since I have only ever once personally spoken to a racing pigeon owner (who did want his bird back), I cannot state anything as a fact – only what I have heard from others who have had contact.

This post tells a positive tale: Pigeon Rescue

The following racing websites advise you what to do if you find a lost racer:

http://www.homingpigeons.co.uk/straypigeons.htm

http://www.homingpigeons.co.uk/lostpigeon.htm

http://www.pigeonbasics.org/lostbirds.php

I am intruiged about racing pigeons – about the race and how they train them, etc. And I guess I would visit a racing pigeon loft and meet the people behind it all – just to see for myself what it’s all about. On the one hand I can understand the fascination, dedication and interest in the art of racing pigeons, on the other hand, however, I don’t like the exploitation of the birds. Are they racing them solely for money and prestige? Or do they really like pigeons and want to be with them? I guess, as with any hobby, activity or venture,  it can be either, neither or a little bit of both. It takes all sorts.

But, as I said in the beginning, I love racing pigeons because they are big and chunky with lovely faces. And they usually have a great personality to match. Some are feisty and tell you off, and others I’ve held just sit calmly in your hand with not a care in the world. Wonderful creatures!


We had a visitor that really, really, REALLY liked Georgie and Elmo but we thought it was best not to let Minnie have any physical contact with them. You’ll see what I mean from the photo!

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Minnie the dog wants to say hello to Georgie the pigeon

Before Minnie popped over for a sniff and to lick her lips (repeatedly whilst staring at Georgie in her cage) Elmo was practicing his disappearing act. We think he may have gotten jealous of Georgie when she played Hide and seek.

We heard a flutter and a thump and went to investigate. Sure enough, Elmo was nowhere to be found. Then we heard a noise and found the poor boy inbetween our desks and the radiator:

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How he managed to fall there we don’t know since he’d have to crawl behind the PC monitors and over some stationery containers. Anyway, when Elmo saw us peering down at him he got excited and started cooing and bowing his head for Richard to come cuddle him. I think he may have found a new nesting site! Uh oh!!


Anybody out there ever played hide and seek with a semi-blind pigeon before? You’d think that we, the sighted humans would have the upper hand, however, today Georgie proved us wrong.

Both Georgie and Elmo have free reign over our flat when we’re at home, which both pigeons take advantage of. Georgie usually goes walkabouts once a day, and we normally find her sat in the corner of the kitchen or in the bathroom.

Today, however, after not having seen her for a while we went to look for her in the usual places. Is she in the hallway? No. Bathroom? No. Kitchen? No. Bedroom? No. Hmmm, maybe behind the sofa in the living room? No. … In the bath? No. Bin? No. Laundry basket? No. Etc, etc.

After about an hour of frantic searching (in which we had upturned nearly the whole flat and were calling her name over and over), Richard noticed a pigeon sized hole under the toilet pipe leading behind the tiled bathroom sink. Uh oh. We called her name and listened. No sound. We called again and again. … Then the faint sounds of pigeon footsteps.

The hole Georgie went into

Hole under the toilet pipe leading behind the tiled bathroom sink.

15 mins later the bath is in pieces and Richard’s arm is reaching behind the sink. NOW Georgie thinks of cooing… not while we were searching for her; No, that would have made it too easy for us.

Bathroom in bits n pieces

The bathroom in pieces!

So we manage to pull her out and Georgie’s none the worst for her experience. Who’d have thought that a semi-blind pigeon could play hide and seek so well?

We, on the other hand, are still a bit shaky. My heart’s still racing but I’m very happy to have my darling Georgie back on my lap.

PS. We’ve just moved into our new flat and we never knew this hole existed!!! It’s now blocked so we don’t have a repeat of this incident.

Behind the tiled bathroom sink

The pipe Georgie was standing on behind the bathroom sink.

Georgie after playing hide and seek

Georgie after being dragged out of her hiding place.