The Oliver family had no plans to adopt any more pets, but when one particularly wayward pigeon flew into their lives recently, they decided to make an exception. After all, the bird had come such a long, long way.
Last week, Kim Oliver and his teenage son were tooling around in the garage at their home in Burlington, North Carolina when, to their surprise, a pigeon flew in for a landing, seeming a little exhausted.
"I looked at him and said, ‘Are you lost?'" Kim told the Times-News. "It looked like he bobbed his head up and down."
But ‘lost' was an understatement. After Kim noticed the feathered visitor had a numbered band around its foot, he did some investigating on the internet and was able to trace the bird's origins to a pigeon enthusiast named Glenn Neal from Oklahoma -- more than 1,100 miles away.
"I could not believe it," Glenn said about learning just how far his missing pet had traveled. He owns about 40 birds like him, called rolling pigeons, which are bred to perform flips in the air, not for traveling long distances. Apparently, finding their way back home isn't a strong skill either.
Glenn told the Olivers that they were free to keep the pigeon, an offer they were happy to accept. But it seems the bird, they've named Okie, had already made the choice to stay.
"It's not something you see every day," says Kim's wife, Kay. "It just likes to hang out here [in the garage]."