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Joe the Pigeon facts for kids

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Joe the Pigeon is a tumbler pigeon named after the President of the United States, Joe Biden; according to initial reports, the pigeon was believed to have flown 13,000 kilometres (8,100 mi) from Oregon to Melbourne in December 2020. The pigeon was identified based on a leg ring that matched that of a racing pigeon from Oregon that had disappeared two months earlier, though the ring was later found to be counterfeit. The pigeon was scheduled to be euthanised as a biosecurity risk, but was granted a reprieve by the Australian government.


Joe the pigeon was first noticed by Kevin Celli-Bird, a resident of Melbourne, Australia, when he saw the pigeon, "very weak and in an emaciated state", in his backyard on December 26, 2020. While feeding Joe in an attempt to revitalise him, Celli-Bird noticed a ring on Joe's leg. Celli-Bird traced the tag to an owner in Alabama who had last seen the bird after it flew off from a race in Oregon. The pigeon, was named 'Joe' by Celli-Bird after Joe Biden, due to the bird making an alleged journey the began in the United States. It was speculated that Joe had crossed the distance on a container ship, as flying the 13,000 kilometres (8,100 mi) from Oregon to Melbourne would have beaten the previous record for longest the bird flight at 12,000 kilometres (7,500 mi).

Decision to euthanise

Celli-Bird was contacted by the Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment after Joe the pigeon received press coverage in Australian media. The Department stated that the pigeon would have to be captured and euthanised as a disease risk, which led to outcry against the Australian government. Deputy Prime Minister of Australia Michael McCormack called the incident "bad luck", saying "If Joe has come in a way that has not met our strict biosecurity measures, then bad luck Joe, either fly home or face the consequences." Politicians Andy Meddick and Martin Foley called for Joe to be quarantined instead of euthanised, with Meddick calling for the federal government to "take Joe off death row".


Deone Roberts of the American Racing Pigeon Union stated on January 15, 2021 that the leg ring found on Joe was "counterfeit and not traceable". It was revealed that Joe is a Turkish tumbler, a breed bred for mid-air tricks instead of long-distance flight. After an investigation, the Department stated that "Joe the Pigeon is highly likely to be Australian and does not present a biosecurity risk", granting him a pardon. Celli-Bird stated that he has bought birdseed for Joe to eat, saying "as long as he’s happy to stay there I’ll let him stay and if he chooses to fly off, he can do that too".

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