Have you ever learned a random fact only to find that it comes in really handy later on? This recently happened to the DeFazio family, whom I met back in April when my racing pigeons and I visited Ironton Elementary School, in Coplay, Pennsylvania. During Ironton’s Family Fun Night, my birds and I taught the students and their families lots of fun facts about racing pigeons. One of the many topics we covered was how to care for a lost racing pigeon.
Fast forward four months to last weekend. The DeFazios were minding their own business, enjoying the final days of summer vacation when a lost racing pigeon landed on their back porch! Mr. DeFazio discovered the bird late at night. Normally, he wouldn’t have given the pigeon a second glance, but the colorful race bands on the bird’s legs caught his eye. He remembered my presentation and knew that he had a racing pigeon on his hands. He ran upstairs and woke his daughters. Together, they remembered what I had said about caring for a lost racing pigeon, and they knew what to do next.
Sensing the bird’s wing was broken, they carefully picked him up and put him in a clean, dry dog crate to keep him safe. They gave him fresh food and water to replenish his strength and keep him hydrated. Then, they wrote down the alpha-numeric code they saw on his race band and used it to search the internet for the bird’s owner.
Over the next couple of days, Mr. DeFazio called and emailed the bird’s owner. While the family waited for a reply, they forged a strong bond with their feathered friend and decided to name him Oliver. Oliver quickly became the neighborhood cele-birdy, delighting the children with his friendly personality.
When it finally came time for Oliver’s owner to pick him up, everyone was sad to see him go. So, they threw him a going away party, complete with a cake topped with the words “Good Luck, Oliver” written in blue icing.
We already know that racing pigeons are highly intelligent creatures, but Oliver must be psychic because when he got injured and realized he couldn’t make it home, he picked the porch of the one family who knew exactly how to help him. Thanks to the DeFazio family and their heroic actions, Oliver was safely returned to his home loft in Paterson, New Jersey, where he’s healing his injured wing.
If you ever find a lost or injured racing pigeon, there are a few simple things you can do to help the bird get home safely. Learn more: https://www.pigeon.org/carelostbird.htm.