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A pigeon has turned up 4,000 miles away from home in the US after getting lost racing back to Tyneside.
Bob the racing pigeon set off from Guernsey in the Channel Islands three weeks ago and was supposed to race back to his home in the north east of England.
The journey should have taken around 10 hours, but the prized pigeon went missing.
Luckily an elderly man found the well-travelled bird in his garden in Mexia, Monroe County, Alabama on Wednesday.
He said it ‘would not leave’ so he called Monroe County Alabama Animal Shelter.
The shelter used the bird’s bands and microchip to find his owner, across the Atlantic ocean in the UK.
Bob the Pigeon’s owner alan reckons Alan reckons Bob landed on a ship which crossed the Atlantic Pictured: Bob in Alabama / Bob the pigeon
A charity spokesman said: ‘He is doing good. Enjoying his food for sure.’
They told: ‘We had a elderly gentleman ask us for help.
‘He had a pigeon with bands show up at his Mexia home.
‘The pigeon would not leave he decided to seek help.
‘Crew member Monica Leigh Morris followed the man to his home and was able to safely catch this beautiful bird.
‘After arriving back at the shelter both Monica and another crew member Megan Bryan started working on tracking down the owner.
Monroe County Alabama Animal Shelter weighed Bob and tracked down his owner
Other than being a little underweight and some oil marks on its feathers Bob is otherwise healthy
‘They were able to get the numbers off the band, but also used our microchip scanner to help track down a webpage called North of England Homing Union.
‘The ladies follow the instructions and were immediately contacted back by the owner – 4000 miles away in North East of England!
The original owner, Alan Todd, 60, a retired financial adviser from Blaydon, Tyne and Wear, said Bob was a ‘special bird’.
He said he’ll do whatever it takes to bring him back to the UK – but estimates it will cost between £2,500 and £3,000.
The charity continued: ‘We are currently working on a game plan to return this champion pigeon to its owner, which was extremely happy to hear from us.’
They said the bird was a little underweight, and had oil marks on its feathers, but was otherwise healthy.
The bird is understood to be worth £1,000 and the BBC reported it belongs to Alan Todd, from Winlaton, Tyne and Wear.
Alan reckons Bob landed on a ship which crossed the Atlantic, reports said.
Monroe County Alabama Animal Shelter are currently looking after the well-travelled pigeon in America
Alan, Bob’s owner said he’ll do whatever it takes to bring him back to the UK but estimates it will cost between £2,500 and £3,000 Pictured: Bob the pigeon visits Bonnie and Lala Lilley at the local Tractor Supply Store to get some food
Bob the pigeon and Alan have been reunited via webcam and he now plans to go to the US to bring him back, the BBC said.
Alan explained that Bob the pigeon was donated to him by a pal, who has since died, for a charity raffle he held to raise money for Marie Curie charity.
His sister Gillian died from the disease in 2018, and the fundraiser raised £5,500.
Alan said: ‘I’ll get him back one way or another.
‘It’s a special pigeon.’
He said he feared the worst when Bob didn’t return from the race back to the north east.
‘Something went wrong,’ he said.
‘When a pigeon goes missing you always worry about what could have happened.
‘Sometimes they end up dead.
‘When I got the email to say he had been found it was so strange.
‘Initially I thought it was in Ireland, but then I found out it was America.. It’s incredible.
‘Maybe he got caught in a thunderstorm over the Channel and he’s found his way on to a boat going the other way.’