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Australia: Hope for pigeon Joe after leg band deemed fake

Christian Fernsby |
A pigeon that Australia declared a biosecurity risk may get a reprieve after a U.S. bird organisation declared its identifying leg band is fake.

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Topics: AUSTRALIA   

The band suggested the bird found in a Melbourne backyard on December 26 was a racing pigeon that had left the U.S. state of Oregon, 3,000 kilometres away, two months earlier.

On that basis, Australian authorities on Thursday said they considered the bird a disease risk and planned to kill it.

But Deone Roberts, sport development manager for the Oklahoma-based American Racing Pigeon Union, said the band was fake.

The band number belongs to a blue bar pigeon in the United States and that is not the bird pictured in Australia, she said.

“The bird band in Australia is counterfeit and not traceable,” Ms Roberts said. “It definitely has a home in Australia and not the US.

“Somebody needs to look at that band and then understand that the bird is not from the US. They do not need to kill him.”

Counterfeit bird bands are “happening more and more”, Ms Roberts said. “People coming into the hobby unknowingly buy that.”

Melbourne resident Kevin Celli-Bird, who found the emaciated bird in his backyard, was surprised by the development and pleased that the bird he had named Joe might not be destroyed.

“Yeah, I’m happy about that,” he said, referring to news that Joe is probably not a biosecurity threat.

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