By John Coffelt, Staff Writer
This weekend a Hillsboro family provided roost for an unlikely house guest, a racing pigeon originally from New York.
The rescuers believe the bird was released during a recent World Trade Center event.
Thursday, Katrena Carr, driving down the Winchester Highway near Hillsboro Elementary School, saw what she at first thought was a statue of a bird in the roadway.
Even after nearly being hit by a swerving truck, the bird remained still and disoriented on the roadway.
Carr moved the bird to nearby grass and continued on her way.
Concerned for the bird, she returned to find it in the same spot she left it.
Carr said she contacted local veterinarians for treatment, but that they were uninterested in treating a “wild animal.”
Examining the bird, she found it had two bands on its legs, stamped WTCM on one and the bird’s number, 627, on the other.
Carr’s brother, Barry, checked the numbers on the Internet.
That search connected him with the International Federation of Homing Pigeon Fanciers, Inc.
“[The bird] is number 627 of the thousand that were released,” Barry said.
The Carrs fed and watered the bird, which they have begun to call “Trade Winds.”
They suspect that recent storms and fatigue disoriented the otherwise healthy bird.
“Trade Winds” is currently under the care of William Murry, who keeps, but does not race, a line of pigeons that descend from Queen Elizabeth’s flock of racing pigeons.
Clarence Griffin, of the WTCM, who originally banded the bird, could not be reached by phone.
According to related pigeon websites, the birds beat their wings up to six times per second and can maintain a heart rate of 600 beats per minute for over 16 hours without resting.