Saturday, November 24, 2012

Saturday encore ~ Walter Pigeon makes a wrong turn over Arizona

One year ago, a pigeon came into my life, if only briefly. It was a magical moment in 7MSN Ranch history 
and one I will fondly remember for many years to come. I'll use the next couple of Saturday Encores
to re-live the story for those who might have missed it the first time around.


Alan: Mom, there's a pigeon in our yard.
Me: That can't be a pigeon. What would a pigeon be doing way out here?
Alan: Beats the hell out of me.

We first noticed the pigeon Sunday morning. Didn't give it too much thought at the time. He walked around the corral 
for awhile, flew off, and that was that. But then he showed up again a few hours later...and a few hours after that. 
When he showed up again Monday morning, I deemed his appearance blog-worthy and started taking pictures.

I was surprised by how close I could get to him. Then one time I got too close...

...and he took off. I figured I'd never see him again and so much for that blog post.

I downloaded the pictures anyway and gasped when I realized what I had been missing because
I can't wear my glasses when I'm taking pictures. Scroll up two photos. Do you see it?

Now do you see it? My pigeon was wearing an ID bracelet! I rushed back outside to see if I could find him. And there he was in the barn.
Maybe I could get some close-ups of the leg band... maybe I could find out who he belonged to...

...maybe I would fall in love with a pigeon. Isn't he gorgeous? 
Who knew pigeons had perfectly shaped hearts above their beaks?

Already Lucy is jealous.

So umpteen photos later, taken at every possible angle, I was able to piece together all the writing on Walter's leg band.
It was a 13-digit code that included the letters "AU."
A little sleuthing on Google, one e-mail and a phone call later, I was talking to Walter's owner.  

Walter's owner races pigeons. He released Walter in Globe, Arizona (Point A below) on Saturday.
Walter was supposed to fly 75 miles home to Safford, Arizona (Point B below).
Walter made a wrong turn.

How or why a navigationally challenged racing pigeon ended up at the 7MSN will remain a mystery.

Walter's owner is baffled by his pigeon's behavior. Apparently it's been a strange year for pigeons. 
This is the first time he's had one fly so far off course. He thinks his pigeon might fly home to Arizona once it eats and rests for awhile.

He also told me that Walter is a hen. I've since named her Amelia.

Amelia is now roosting above the feed room in the barn. I've told her owner that I would call him 
if she leaves so he can be on the lookout for her, but I'm hoping she'll decide to stay. 

She's got food, water, lots of company, and 15 minutes of fame on a blog. What more could a pigeon want?


  1. I loved that story.

  2. I still say he took a wrong turn at Albuquerque eh ;)

  3. I remember reading about Amelia. She's a beauty.

  4. I was thinking of Amelia last week when my lone Robin was hanging out on the fence. All his buddies have long since flown the area but he just keeps laughing in the trees at the neighborhood.

  5. Maybe Amelia is married and has a hubby to go home to. Or maybe she got tired of that kind of life.
    She is really a beauty!


  6. Wonderful story and great photos of a beautiful bird! Hope she stays with you. Seems she is already a star at your ranch.

  7. She is beautiful. I hope she stays for a bit.