Thursday, April 21, 2011

Racing Pigeon Goes First Class

ABC News / International
By Lucrezia Cuen
L O N D O N, July 11

A British racing pigeon that went missing over the English Channel was discovered on the other side of the Atlantic — after hitching a ride to New York on the QE2 luxury liner.

The pigeon, appropriately named “Liberty,” set off from Nantes in France four weeks ago on what was supposed to be a nine-hour, 400-mile homing race back to Derbyshire, England.

Caught in fog over the Channel, the three-year-old hen took a wrong turn and settled on the cruise liner leaving Southhampton heading for New York.

Can Pigeons Get Suntans? Two weeks ago, as the QE2 neared the Caribbean, it faxed the Royal Pigeon Racing Association to say that it had found and safely captured “Liberty” along with another racing pigeon from the same race. The two pigeons were apparently sunning themselves on deck when they were discovered.

The feathered freeloaders were caught by crew members who identified them by their leg tags. As the birds were too far asea to safely reach home, they were placed in the cruiseliner’s kennels for safe-keeping.

The British Royal Pigeon Racing Association tracked down owner Vince Webster.

“I doubt they have pigeon food on the QE2 so they probably gave her a bit of caviar or something,” Webster told reporters.

Webster has been raising racing pigeons for 34 years but has never had one go quite so far astray. This adventure took Liberty to New York, the Caribbean and back to Southhampton — a 5,000-mile diversion.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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