Clinic Stories

Homing Pigeons

A woman from Jersey City came to our office one morning with five homing pigeons. Her father, who lives in Hawaii, saw that a noted pigeon fancier in New Jersey was selling off his flock. He asked his daughter to go to the sale, buy whatever she could and send them to him. The dutiful daugher complied and needed a health certificate for shipment. The paperwork had a phone number to call prior to shipment but with a six hour time zone difference, I was unable to reach them in the morning.

When I reached the agricultural receiving station in the afternoon, they issued a permit number and shipment date. I called the woman to give her the information, but she naively she had already taken the pigeons to the airport and sent them on their way. When they reached Hawaii without a valid permit they were sent back to Jersey City. For another week and a half the women had the five pigeons living in her apartment until they were cleared to be flown back to Hawaii, but finally I issued another health certificate, no charge, and her obligation was fulfilled.

Pigeons can return back to their loft from hundreds of miles away, but I have never heard of them returning from 5000 miles.

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