Joe The Racing Pigeon from Alabama — named as such after President-elect Joe Biden — will likely face death for breaking quarantine, according to reports.
The racing bird — who’s flown an 8,000-mile journey to Australia — was discovered on Dec. 26 in Kevin Celli-Bird’s backyard, a Melbourne resident. The flying animal had disappeared from a race in Oregon on Oct. 29, as per AP.
Celli-Bird then confirmed that the Oklahoma-based American Racing Pigeon Union had lost Joe, who belongs tho an owner in Montgomery, Alabama.
It is believed by experts that the daredevil bird took a ride on a cargo ship to cross the Pacific, a stunt that has attraced the media’s attention and quarantine officials, Down Under.
“They say if it is from America, then they’re concerned about bird diseases,” Celli-Bird said, adding that officials called him Thursday about Joe.
“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 said that authorities were considering hiring a professional bird catcher to help capture the long-distance traveler.
The Agriculture Department, which handles biosecurity, said the pigeon was “not permitted to remain in Australia” because 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 department statement said.
Celli-Bird pictured how the feathered visitor appeared in his backyard.
“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 added.
Celli-Bird has tried to contact Joe’s owner without success.
The bird is back at it, after being truly exahusted. Celli-Bird — his name has nothing to do with them, jusy saying — fed the bold flyer after it appeared. Now, Joe spends its days n the backyard, sometimes in the company of a native dove on a pergola.
“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.
Australian National Pigeon Association secretary Brad Turner said there were legitimate fears pigeons from the US could carry diseases and he agreed that Joe should be put to sleep.
“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,” he said, referring to the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service.
In 2015, the government threatened to euthanize two Yorkshire terriers smuggled into the country by Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard. Faced with a 50-hour deadline to leave the country, Pistol and Boo hightailed it out in a chartered jet.
According to pigeonpedia.com, the greatest long-distance flight by a pigeon started at Arras in France and ended in Saigon, Vietnam, back in 1931, a 24-day journey covering 7,200 miles.