A pigeon who turned up thousands of miles away in the US after getting lost racing to Tyneside is back in the UK.
Bob was found in Alabama having somehow crossed the Atlantic Ocean after setting off from Guernsey in the Channel Islands.
Animal shelter staff identified him by his leg ring and were able to contact owner Alan Todd, from Gateshead, who jetted to the US to bring him back.
Mr Todd thanked the “small army of people” involved in Bob’s safe return.
“Everybody has bent over backwards,” he said. “I didn’t realise so much work would be involved to get him home. It’s been stressful, but it’s been worth it.
“I was surprised how emotional I felt when we were reunited. It was just the relief and the thought of how much work people had put in after he went missing last month.
“Normally when a pigeon gets lost you don’t see them again as birds of prey often kill them, so I’m glad to get him back. He’s got a special place in my heart.”
Mr Todd, who looks after 120 pigeons, believes four-year-old Bob may have landed on a ship after being caught in a storm.
He was looked after by animal shelter staff who had been contacted by an elderly resident who found the bird at his home.
Currently a little underweight, Mr Todd is confident Bob will be “bright as a button again” in four to six weeks.
His life as a racer, though, is at an end.
Instead, Mr Todd jokes, the bird will have “an enjoyable life of eating, drinking and sex, as he’ll be a breeder now”.
“He’s a good pigeon and won two big races from France, but after all he’s gone through I won’t be letting him race again.
“The thought of anything happening to him after all the help people have given is too much.”
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