The pigeon Joe, named after US President-elect Joe Biden, was going to be killed by Australian authorities because they thought he entered the country “without papers” from the United States. But it turns out that Joe is probable a local bird and not from the US.
Kevin Chelli-Bird discovered the pigeon in his backyard in Melbourne. Joe was wearing an ankle band that showed that his owner lives in Alabama in the US. That would mean that the bird had traveled 9,000 miles (14,480 kilometers) from the States to Australia.
Joe got a lot of media coverage, but when the story reached Australian authorities, they immediately said that the pigeon could be a risk for local birds and had to be put down.
But it turns out that the ankle tag Joe is wearing is probably fake. It appears to have been bought online and put on Joe’s ankle in Australia, which makes Joe a local Turkish Tumbler.
“They’re not bred for flying long distances, they’re bred for tricks in the air. So they’re like a show bird really,” Lars Scott from Pigeon Rescue Melbourne told AFP.
Scott’s claim that the tag was a fake was backed up by the American Racing Pigeon Union, which posted on Facebook to try to save Joe. The union said the American owner of the bird linked to the tag said he did
not own Joe.
Australian officials said they were still working to uncover Joe’s origin. “The bird was tagged with what appears to be a US identification – the department is still working to determine its authenticity,” an Agriculture Department spokesperson said.