Racing pigeon finds saviors

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 29, 2010

When a racing pigeon is lost, there isn’t a bird alert all-points bulletin issued.

Instead the only hope that the pigeon can rely on to get him back to its home is the honesty and good-heartedness of the right person. And one lucky pigeon that got lost in Natchez picked just the right truck to hide under.

Two weeks ago, Ginger Mims pulled into her store on Main Street and found an injured pigeon that could only hop away from her as she approached it. Unable to catch the pigeon, she decided that she’d feed it Cheerios and water.

After returning to work a couple days in a row and finding the pigeon still by her parking spot, she noticed a tag around it’s ankle and knew that is must be a racing bird. The next thing that came to her mind was to call local pigeon racer Modie Mascagni.

Mascagni immediately made his way to Mims’ store with a cage and other birds to help coax the pigeon into the cage. After a few tries, Mims, Mascagni and Mims’ son Fletcher, 7, successfully caught the bird.

“I was excited I found somebody to save him,” Ginger Mims said.

After Mascagni got the pigeon home he immediately treated a wound on her chest, that had almost healed on its own, with antibiotics. Mascagni believes that she probably received the wound from hitting a cell phone tower that then caused her to slow down and get lost in Natchez.

Mascagni then took the code off her tag and entered it into the American Racing Pigeon Union database and found out that she was lost five weeks ago racing from Hoxie, Ark., to her owner’s home in Houston, Texas.

He also found that she was a grand racing pigeon that had won first place on a 400-mile race and second place on a 500-mile race.

“It’s exciting for me to find a bird that has won,” Mascagni said.

He said that the birds fly up to 45 miles an hour and can make those 400 and 500 mile races in a day. So, for the bird not to be back in Houston, with its owner after five weeks from the start of the race, Mascagni figured the owner had probably thought the bird was lost forever.

Mascagni said when he called the owner to tell him he’d found his bird, the man was more than excited to hear that his award-winning pigeon was well and safe.

In six to eight weeks, when the pigeon has fully recuperated, Mascagni said he’ll either let her fly back or ship her back to Houston.

“Hopefully there’s someone out there that will do it for me,” Mascagni said. “We’re like a big fraternity.”

And the rescue wouldn’t have taken place at all without Fletcher and his mother.

“I feel pretty good to know I saved (the pigeon),” Fletcher said. “I’m an animal lover.

“Once I even saved a caterpillar.”