Animal Shelter in Alabama Saved a Homing Pigeon and Found Its Hometown is 4000 miles away

It is the benefit of our feathered animal friends that fly… literally. Most of them hibernate with their families when seasons change. Our feathered friends take advantage of their ability to fly and go to places where their wings will take them, even if it is far away.

In June 2022, the Monroe County Alabama Animal Shelter in the USA received a strange report from an elderly gentleman who claimed a pigeon suddenly appeared in his house. He could not drive it away, so he sought help from the shelter. A female staff member followed the man to his Mexia home and safely caught the pigeon. When they arrived at the shelter, staff members immediately tracked down the owner. It was wearing bands on its legs, so they were able to get the tracking numbers out of it. They also used their microchip scanner and discovered the pigeon came from the UK! It has traveled so far away!

By scanning the microchip on the pigeon and tracking the numbers on its band, the staff discovered a website called North of England Homing Union. The shelter was able to track down Alan Todd, the owner who lives in the UK. They learned that the pigeon’s name was Bob.

According to Alan, Bob was supposed to fly from Guernsey, Channel Islands, to Newcastle, England. Travel time would expect to be about 10 hours. However, Bob must have lost his way and flew to the United States instead. He arrived in Alabama, which is 4,000 miles away!

The shelter arranged a video call between Bob and Alan, and he clarified the reason why Bob may have flown to the USA from the UK. He believed Bob couldn’t fly at such a far distance and speculated that he could have just landed on a boat that was crossing the Atlantic. The staff also mentioned that Bob was covered in oil when they rescued him. “Maybe he hitched a ride on an oil tanker,” one of the staff said.

The shelter staff felt incredible about Bob’s journey and was amazed by him. They stopped at a local Tractor Supply Store and bought food for the hungry pigeon, then proceeded to the Airport Animal Clinic to see Dr. Compton, a veterinarian who examined Bob. Fortunately, apart from being covered in oil and dirt, he was in good shape. He looked tired and was thin due to his long journey, but he recovered. Thanks to the shelter staff.

Staff members started planning with Alan to send Bob back to the UK. At the time, Alan created a GoFundMe page to raise some money, hoping to raise enough to get Bob home to the UK as soon as possible and reunite with his owner. Bob and Alan probably miss each other already since they are far apart. 😆

Fortunately, in less than a month, he finally arrived in Alabama and reunited with his beloved pigeon, Bob.


Bob the 4000 mile pigeon. #foryou #bob #pigeon #pigeonracing #offtrack #mcas

♬ FEEL THE GROOVE – Queens Road, Fabian Graetz

When Alan Todd finally arrived in Alabama, he expressed his gratitude to the shelter by generously donating nearly US$2,000 from the unused funds from the GoFundMe page. He was thankful that the pigeon arrived safe and was cared for by the staff. With the money they received, the shelter can now purchase urgently needed medicines, canned cat food, cleaning supplies, and other consumables to help more rescued animals.

The shelter was grateful for this opportunity and is happy to be with Bob and his owner, Alan, who arrived from the UK. They also called this “sending pigeons home” one of the rarest but amazing experiences they had. “It was great to see animal lovers and bird lovers from all over the world coming together to support this, and we were fortunate to meet new friendships from all over the globe.”

Now that Bob has successfully returned to the UK with Alan, his “long and unexpected journey overseas” trip has ended. Welcome back to the UK, Bob. ❤️

Images credits: © monroecountyALanimalshelter @monroecountyshelter/TikTok, Monroe County Alabama Animal Shelter/Facebook, and Alan Todd/Facebook

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About the Author: Ria P. Jacinto

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