11/17/08 — Lost pigeon finds new home in Fremont

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Lost pigeon finds new home in Fremont

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on November 17, 2008 1:46 PM


Kimberly Hooks of Fremont holds her newfound friend, a female racing pigeon that took a wrong turn at Hope Mills and came to her rather than to its owner in Georgia.

Six-year-old Kimberly Hooks caught and then re-caught a racing pigeon that took a wrong turn on its way home.

The bird was one of many racing pigeons released at Hope Mills, and its owner was expecting it to arrive in Georgia.

But the bird flew 80 miles north instead, and a little more than a week ago, it landed in Kimberly's yard about two miles west of Fremont.

Her father, Ken Hooks, spotted the bird and pointed it out to her. She went over to it to try to catch it.

"I said I don't think you'll be able to catch him, but she followed him to the side of the house and just scooped him up," Hooks said.

She and her father placed the pigeon in a small cage on the back porch.

Kimberly made all the phone calls to track down the owner.

First, she called the local wildlife officer. He gave her the phone number to a man in Texas, who has a list of all the registered racing pigeons in the U.S. From a number around the bird's leg he found the owner, who lives in Marietta, Ga.

The owner said he has 200 pigeons, and he's in no hurry to get back the errant bird. He said Kimberly could have it. He even sent her its favorite food along with a book about pigeons and an American Racing Pigeon Union T-shirt.

"He even offered to send her some more to keep this one company," Hooks said.

For now, though, Kimberly will stick with the one she's got -- with the understanding that if she gets tired of it, she can mail it back home to Marietta.

But Hooks said he thinks the bird is too tame to be a good racing pigeon any more.

"He acts like a pet," he said.

From the book, Kimberly said she found out the bird is a female, but she is the only one in the family who calls it a "her."

On one recent afternoon, though, the bird slipped from Kimberly's arms and flew into her grandmother's back yard, perching on the roof of a nearby barn and watching her while she tried to lure it back down with food.

Her grandmother, Ruth Aycock, told her that "they'll give her another one if it gets away,' but Kimberly's heart was set on her bird.

So she stayed late at her grandmother's house, and before she left, she went out one more time to see her new pet had returned.

And there it was, perched on the stoop to the back door waiting for her.

"She came back because she loves me," Kimberly told her grandmother. "And I love her, too."