Australia to kill pigeon that traveled 8,000 miles from Oregon, U.S to Melbourne

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A racing pigeon that traveled 8,000-miles throughout the Pacific Ocean from the United States to discover a new dwelling in Australia is now dealing with imminent demise after Australian authorities say they take into account the chicken a quarantine threat and plan to kill it, AP reported.

The chicken disappeared from Oregon throughout a race on October 29, earlier than displaying up in Melbourne late December.

Kevin Celli-Bird from Australia mentioned he found the exhausted chicken that arrived in his Melbourne yard on December 26 had disappeared from a race within the U.S. state of Oregon on Oct. 29. He named the Pigeon Joe – after the U.S. president-elect.

It is unclear how the chicken traveled hundreds of miles all the best way from the west coast of the United States to southern Australia, however specialists suspect the pigeon hitched a experience on a cargo ship to cross the Pacific.

Joe’s 8,000 mile journey has now attracted the eye of the Australian media but in addition of the notoriously strict Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service.

Celli-Bird mentioned quarantine officers known as him on Thursday to ask him to catch the chicken.

“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 knowledgeable chicken catcher.

The pigeon has not but been caught, however Australia’s Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment says it is going to have to be killed due to the hazard of an infection to native birds.

“Regardless of its origin, any domesticated bird that has not met import health status and testing requirements is not permitted to remain in Australia,” a division spokesperson mentioned in an announcement.

“The only possible outcome to manage the biosecurity risk is humane destruction of the bird.”

Joe the pigeon shouldn’t be the primary animal to face hassle in Australia due to the nation’s strict animal import legal guidelines, BBC reported.

In 2015, Australian 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 the nation, the canines made it out in a chartered jet out of Australia.

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 no real interest in birds “apart from my last name,” mentioned he may 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 up to now been unable to get via.

The chicken spends every single day within 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 may carry unique illnesses and he agreed Joe needs to 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.

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According to, the best long-distance flight recorded by a pigeon is one that began at Arras in France and resulted in Saigon, Vietnam, again in 1931,  The distance was 11,600 kilometers (7,200 miles) and took 24 days, AP reported.


The chicken is probably going to be Australian and its blue racing band, indicating it got here from the U.S., is faux, Australia’s Department of Agriculture later said.

“Following an investigation, the department has concluded that Joe the Pigeon is highly likely to be Australian and does not present a biosecurity risk,” the division said in a statement Friday.

A racing pigeon sits on a rooftop Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021, in Melbourne, Australia, AP

“What a relief to know that Joe the Pigeon found in Australia does not wear a genuine [racing] band,” the American Pigeon Racing Union mentioned in a statement on Facebook.

“The pigeon found in Australia sports a counterfeit band and need not be destroyed per biosecurity measures, because his actual home is in Australia,” the assertion added. “It is a disappointment that false information spreads so quickly, but we are appreciative that the real pigeon did not stray from the U.S.”