Prized homing pigeon who left Guernsey for Gateshead ends up in Alabama

We have all heard of Geldof, Dylan and Marley, but a very different Bob made the international headlines on 1 July. Bob the racing pigeon.

Bob set off from Guernsey in June, heading for Gateshead, but he took a wrong turn, a really big one. Instead of going north, he went 4000 miles west, ending up across the Atlantic and lost in the US state of Alabama.

Well, he has now (1 August) been reunited with his owner, Alan Todd, who says he is delighted to have Bob back in Gateshead.

"He will be treated like royalty. I will give him a nice hot bath and make sure he has his favourite seed."

"The cargo staff haven been supportive throughout and have guided me through the process on how they will bring Bob back home."

IAG Cargo says it has transported many animals from dogs, to lions to turtles but it is the first time it has moved a pigeon.

Bob turned up thousands of miles away at an animal shelter in Alabama. Credit: Monroe County Alabama Animal Shelter

Alan was contacted by the Monroe County Alabama Animal Shelter in America after a man asked for their help dealing with a pigeon who would not leave his home.

Once at the shelter, staff checked Bob's microchip and were shocked to find it hailed from Gateshead.

Megan Bryan from the shelter said: "We gathered he was in a race near Guernsey and I guess he got lost and hitched a ride on a cargo ship and made it to Alabama."

The team at the animal shelter nursed Bob back to full health after he arrived looking a little worse for wear but despite the love he's received here, home is where the heart is for this homing pigeon.

The Alabaman animal shelter is now working on a plan to reunite Bob the pigeon with his owner Alan. Credit: Monroe County Alabama Animal Shelter

"He was on a Zoom call and he heard Mr. Alan's voice and as soon as he heard it he turned his head and he recognised his voice straight away and I thought that was the sweetest thing, so I think he's probably ready to go home."

Despite travelling such a distance Bob is said to be in a good condition. He is a little underweight, but an American vet thinks this is due to flying thousands of miles.