Racing pigeon flies the coop – will he stay?

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A handsome racing pigeon has flow into Guttenberg and captured the hearts of local residents. (Photo submitted)

By Caroline Rosacker

A racing pigeon, newly named "Puff the Magic Pigeon," landed in Guttenberg at the home of Dale and Mary Barnes on June 25. 

Using identification tags found on Puff's legs, the Barnes were able to gather important information about the pigeon's origins, race route, and how to best accommodate their drop-in company on the American Racing Pigeon website. The couple learned Puff was participating in a long distance race, and that stop-overs for rest and rehydration were common. 

"We typed in au2022fwr52 and were immediately contacted by the president of the racing pigeon association," they explained. "He instructed us to feed and water the pigeon, and that the bird would more than likely take flight in the morning. A few days later he (we assume because of his size) was still with us, so we contacted the association and they told us to place him in some type of enclosure, and they would contact the owner who would retrieve him. We have not yet heard from the owner."

Puff has a mind of his own, and was very reluctant to be captured and cooped. "He did not want to be caught and put in a cage," Mary told The Press. "He even thwarted our friend, Karen, who grew up on a farm and was used to handling animals." 

A growing number of community members are interested in the racing pigeon, causing a stir on social media. "We are having all kinds of fun with Puff, and have even created a song in his honor to the tune of 'Puff the Magic Dragon'. He is so handsome and quite beautiful," Mary shared with a smile. 

The words pay homage to the racing pigeon, our beautiful community, and the kindness of strangers. 

Puff the Magic Pigeon

Puff the Magic Pigeon, came to Guttenberg and frolicked on the Barnes's deck, in a city so fun and free. 

Little Puff needed water, and some food that day, and flew around the river so free, and other fancy stuff. 

There is speculation as to why the racing pigeon remains in Guttenberg. The association president thinks poor air quality caused by Canadian wildfires may have had an impact on the pigeon's desire to resume racing. 

"We think he has hired a lawyer and is demanding to be set free from the harsh demands of long distance racing,  limited diets, and human ownership," the Barnes fictitiously elaborated.

Mary reports a diet of canary food, wild rice and fresh water have kept "Puff" coming back for more. "We were told not to feed any cracked corn!" she noted. "I was afraid of overfeeding him, but was told he would only eat as much as needed."

The Barnes hope others in town are welcoming  and  willing to provide food. "Puff's arrival has caused quite a bit of excitement in our neighborhood, and his whereabouts are of great interest," they said. "He has provided us with an opportunity to educate ourselves on the sport of pigeon racing. I feel like he is going through his teen years, and will eventually return home. Until then we are enjoying his presence and will continue to provide food, water and a deck to perch on," they concluded.

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