Australia aims to kill pigeon that miraculously crossed the Pacific from Oregon

ROD McGUIRK,

AP

January 14, 2021 | 9:00 AM

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — A racing pigeon has survived a rare 13,000-kilometer (8,000-mile) Pacific Ocean crossing from the United States to discover a new residence in Australia. Now authorities take into account the chook a quarantine danger and plan to kill it.

Kevin Celli-Bird mentioned Thursday he found the exhausted chook that arrived in his Melbourne yard on Dec. 26 had disappeared from a race in the U.S. state of Oregon on Oct. 29.

Experts suspect the pigeon that Celli-Bird has named Joe, after the U.S. president-elect, hitched a journey on a cargo ship to cross the Pacific.

Joe’s feat has attracted the consideration of the Australian media but in addition of the notoriously strict Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service.

Celli-Bird mentioned quarantine authorities known as him on Thursday to ask him to catch the chook.

“They say if it is from America, then they’re concerned about bird diseases,” he mentioned. “They wanted to know if I could help them out. I said, ’To be honest, I can’t catch it. I can get within 500 mil (millimeters or 20 inches) of it and then it moves.’”

He mentioned quarantine authorities have been now contemplating contracting an expert chook catcher.

The Agriculture Department, which is liable for biosecurity, mentioned the pigeon was “not permitted to remain in Australia” as a result of it “could compromise Australia’s food security and our wild bird populations.”

“It poses a direct biosecurity risk to Australian bird life and our poultry industry,” a division assertion mentioned.

In 2015, the authorities threatened to euthanize two Yorkshire terriers, Pistol and Boo, after they have been smuggled into the nation by Hollywood star Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard.

Faced with a 50-hour deadline to go away Australia, the canine made it out in a chartered jet.

Pigeons are an uncommon sight in Celli-Bird’s yard in suburban Officer, the place Australian native doves are much more widespread.

“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 mentioned.

“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 added.

Celli-Bird, who says he has little interest in birds “apart from my last name,” mentioned he might not catch the pigeon together with his naked palms because it had regained its energy.

He mentioned the Oklahoma-based American Racing Pigeon Union had confirmed that Joe was registered to an proprietor in Montgomery, Alabama.

Celli-Bird mentioned he had tried to contact the proprietor, however had to this point been unable to get via.

The chook spends daily in the yard, typically sitting side-by-side with a local dove on a pergola. Celli-Bird has been feeding it pigeon meals from inside days of its arrival.

“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 mentioned.

Australian National Pigeon Association secretary Brad Turner mentioned he had heard of circumstances of Chinese racing pigeons reaching the Australian west coast aboard cargo ships, a far shorter voyage.

Turner mentioned there have been real fears pigeons from the United States might carry unique ailments and he agreed Joe must be destroyed.

“While it sounds harsh to the normal person — they’d hear that and go: ‘this is cruel,’ and everything else — I’d think you’d find that A.Q.I.S. and those sort of people would give their wholehearted support for the idea,” Turner mentioned, referring to the quarantine service.

It is claimed that the biggest long-distance flight recorded by a pigeon is one that began at Arras in France and resulted in Saigon, Vietnam, again in 1931, in accordance to pigeonpedia.com. The distance was 11,600 kilometers (7,200 miles) and took 24 days.

There are some identified cases of long-distance flights however whether or not these are one-offs carried out by the marathon runners of the pigeon world or they’re feats that could possibly be achieved by the common pigeon is just not identified.

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