Thursday, 26 May 2011

Lessons from a dead racing pigeon

The other day I saw a dead pigeon by the side of the road and, the traffic being very slow-moving, noticed that it had rings on its legs, so recovered it and took it home.  After removing the rings, one of which had to be hacksawed off, I put the carcase on the compost heap, which is what I generally do with the bodies of small animals I find in the garden. (There's never been a problem with flies or smell, incidentally.)  Curiously, I was too squeamish to just chop the leg off!

Today at the bird reserve I learned that racing pigeons often have their owner's contact details stamped on the wings, so when I got home I fished the bird out of the compost heap and took a look.  Sure enough, there was a name and a London phone number.

Turns out the bird had been sent to Alnwick in Northumberland on Saturday but had not returned.  Obviously the owner was sad at the loss of his pigeon, but grateful that I'd made the effort to contact him.

I also reported the bird as a stray on the Royal Pigeon Racing Association website.  As well as the stamp on the wing, the warden at the bird reserve had mentioned a central BTO ringing website, so looking for where to report the bird, I started there.  The BTO website directed me immediately to a list of pigeon racing websites and given I knew the bird was from London, I reported it to the association that seemed most likely to be the right one.

And I'd finished within the hour.  Imagine how much more cumbersome that procedure would have been even a few years ago!  Isn't that interweb thingy wonderful?


Jennyta said...

It certainly is, Rob. I must confess I would never have thought of looking at the ring and contacting the owner etc.

Rob Clack said...

I probably only thought of it because I seem to be getting increasingly serious about watching birds. Well, having so much time on my hands and a super pair of binoculars, that's hardly surprising!