Local News

Homing Pigeon Finds New Home in Cumberland County

Posted May 21, 2007
Updated May 22, 2007

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— One of the newest members of a Cumberland County high school is only a year old, but she's already spreading her wings in the big world.

Angel is loved by everyone, especially the students in Lee Ward's special-needs class at Jack Britt High School. Ward first spotted the bird in the morning before class, pecking at the parking lot, looking for food. Ward saw her again the next morning.

Using the Internet and the numbered bands on Angel's legs, Ward traced the bird to her owner: Seth Burke, who raises pigeons outside Beckley, West Virginia -- more than 230 miles north of Jack Britt High School.

It turns out Angel flew heavenward with a flurry of white birds during an April 15 funeral and it is believed that she was the only one that did not return to the flock.

"One of the things you always hear people talking about is 'eating like a bird.' She eats like a hog. She flat devours food," said science teacher John De Weese.

"She's even flown away when people have scared her, and she has come right back," Ward said.

Burke said 98 percent of his birds fly right back home after being released. He believes it is the farthest any of his pigeons have traveled. He said the school is welcome to keep Angel.


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  • Lester May 23, 2007

    So now what...

    I was telling my kids about the cool issue with the homing pigeon in the garage. While I was talking and walking by the garage window, who should be inside peering out at us?

    He's back. Apparently he came back the other day, but I didn't see him. We chased him out today (not mean, just sort of shooed him out) and he came back as the sun was setting.

    So, just how big of a "house" do I need to provide him with, if he'll be living outside the garage, and free to come and go as he chooses? And what the heck do I feed him? He doesn't seem to care for meatloaf :-)

  • Andrew Blechman May 23, 2007


    If you enjoyed this article about "Angel" you might enjoy my recent book:

    "PIGEONS--The Fascinating Saga of the World's Most Revered and Reviled Bird" (Grove Press).

    Pigeons are amazing creatures with an unparalleled history. You can take a peek at my book at my author website: www.andrewblechman.com

    Best Wishes,

    Andrew Blechman


  • ObamaMustGo aka NCcarguy May 22, 2007

    how big a cage does this bird need? I'm willing to help with the cost of buying or building one.

  • packandcanesfan May 22, 2007

    I would normally agree about the bird needing to be free but I saw the students and they are special need students.. some had Down's. How could you take that bird away? I have all ideas that is exactly why the owner let her stay. Hopefully someone will build her a nice enclosure where she has room.

  • special k May 22, 2007

    strolling bones - i think his thought was probably why keep a homing pigeon that won't come back home? - if you love something you have to let it go - if it doesn't come back it doesn't love you - haha

  • my voice May 22, 2007

    I agree with ncvet and strollingbones. Birds need the entire outdoors to fly and be happy. Let the bird go! It may break the children's hearts at first until someone teaches them what is best for the pigeon. The mileage the pigeon has all ready flown should show everyone that a tiny cage is not enough space for the pigeon to be a pigeon.

  • alleycat May 22, 2007

    Neat, can I get rid of my telephone service now? Glad to see these children taking on a great project!!

  • Lester May 22, 2007

    OK... so Sunday morning I go rolling out into the garage to look for my boonie hat. As I am standing there looking around (in the cluttered mess), I see something out of the corner of my eye. There, standing about 2 feet from me, is one of these birds. Keep in mind, the garage had been closed for 2 or 3 days. I opened the garage door, and he(?) proceeded to go wandering around the neighborhood (on foot). We put out bread and water, but he didn't come back. I was kind of hoping this story was about "our" bird, since I've been worrying about where he took off to. (Obviously not, since they've had theirs longer than yesterday morning.) Absolutely beautiful birds, and extremely tame.

  • NC_VET May 22, 2007

    They need to build a Pigeon Coop so it have plenty of room.
    These are not birds you keep in a small cage like finches or
    canary's. Pigeons need room to move around and this type of
    pigeon will need room to fly. good luck Angel

  • strolling bones May 22, 2007

    p.s. they need to get a much larger cage.