Missing Leeds pigeon is found... in Bahamas

SURPRISE: Pigeon fancier Fred Lock. PIC: Ross Parry

SURPRISE: Pigeon fancier Fred Lock. PIC: Ross Parry

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A Leeds pigeon fancier was left dumbfounded when one of his birds, which had gone missing after a race from France, turned up 4,500 miles away in the Bahamas.

Eight of racing enthusiast Fred Lock’s birds had been shipped out to Lille on May 25 for the 286-mile race back to Leeds, but only seven turned up.

Fred had given him up as lost but he was shocked to receive a call from a British PhD student to say ‘Henry’ the pigeon had turned up on a small island.

Henry’s finder, Kate Barley, 30, hails from Cleethorpes and her father is another pigeon enthusiast who told her how to find the owner’s number on the feathered tourist’s wing ring.

Kate is now keeping Fred, 59, appraised of Henry’s progress and they are trying to come up with a way to bring him home.

Catering firm driver Fred said: “When he didn’t arrive back from France with the rest after about six hours I thought that was that.”

But Fred and his wife Lynda, 55, received a call from marine scientist Kate, who is currently studying on Eleuthera Island, to say she had found the 16-month-old pigeon.

Fred said: “When they told me they had got my pigeon I couldn’t believe it. He must have hitch-hiked on a ship to make it over there and get away from our weather.

“I’ve heard of people finding their pigeons in Belgium, Holland and Germany but never this far away. It’s unbelievable.

“They have sent us over pictures and he seems safe and sound on his holiday.”

Kate, who is studying for a PhD in fisheries conservation, divides her time between her university in Canada, her UK home, and the Bahamas, where she does her research.

She said: “Henry arrived during the week from June 18. He flew into the boat house.

“He looked in fine shape and I knew straight away he was owned by someone as he had the ring on, at first we thought it must be someone locally.”

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