Bad news for Pacific-crossing pigeon named after Joe Biden!
Melbourne, Australia - The pandemic didn't stop this pigeon from traveling around the world. But after concerns were raised that the bird itself could spread diseases, the Australian authorities are showing no mercy.
What a journey: a racing pigeon clocked up a whopping 8,000 miles before turning up at the Melbourne home of Kevin Celli-Bird on December 26.
"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," the appropriately-named Celli-Bird told Sky News.
The next day, he became aware of a blue band on its leg, indicating the bird belonged to someone.
After some research, the Australian man discovered that the bird, which is registered to an owner in Alabama, was last seen during a pigeon race in Oregon and had been missing since October 29. He later tried to contact its owner but didn't succeed.
It's unclear how the bird managed to make the 8,000-mile journey from Oregon to southern Australia. But experts believe he is likely to have hitchhiked on board a cargo vessel.
Celli-Bird jokingly named the runaway Joe after the president-elect, Joe Biden.
Joe's story made headlines worldwide, but unfortunately it also attracted the attention of the notoriously strict Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service. And they decided that Joe has to die.
American pigeon could bring diseases to Australia
The officials asked the bird rescuer from Melbourne to catch Joe, because they were concerned about bird diseases. He will have to be put down because of the danger of infection to local birds.
Celli-Bird said he wasn't able to catch the bird. Since he fed the bird on a daily basis, the animal regained much of its strength.
"I can get within 500 mil (millimetres or 20 inches) of it and then it moves'," he explained.
Instead, the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment now plans to employ a professional bird catcher.
Who knows, little Joe might already be planning his return to the US.
Cover photo: imago images / ZUMA Wire & agefotostock