A quandary involving a lost pigeon and its missing owner

Discussion in 'Pigeons and Doves' started by foundalostpigeon, Jun 21, 2010.

  1. foundalostpigeon

    foundalostpigeon New Egg

    Jun 21, 2010
    The story, thus far:
    A lost pigeon found his way to my chicken coops about a month ago. It had an racing band, with the name of a breeder a few hours north. I called
    and spoke with a gentleman who stated that he had retired from the pigeon game and sold his birds 'years ago'. When I asked if he'd be able to help me find the current owner of the bird, and gave him the specific numbers on the ring, he went silent - shocked to tell me that this particular bird is a very fancy expensive pigeon from a very specific breeding line that was imported, yadda yadda yadda.

    After a week and a half (of many messages) I was able to get in touch with the breeder again who had gone through his storage bins and found the sales record. He suggested that the owner had 'moved out of the country', while giving me the shipping address and a disconnected phone number. The breeder than surprised me by insisting that I either meet with his friends or ship the bird to them, as they still have birds of this particular line and apparently still breeds and sells them. (Note above, where they said they had retired.) Now, I'm not one to begrudge a breeder their right to sell their birds, but it would appear that they have already profited from the sale of this bird and would like to get a shot at selling it again. At no point did the breeder ever mention that he would try and return the bird, and weaseled around that question when asked. I really don't feel like that allowing the breeder to resell the bird would be right, seeing as how the purchaser would now be out the $$$ he spent on the bird, which apparently is a breeding bird only that got loose with no way to find its way home. (This isn't a homing or racing bird, and letting it go would only allow cats or other animals to eat it. I am familiar with pigeon rescue, this is probably the 5th bird that's found me in the last 3 years.)

    The breeder was able to give me the address that he shipped the bird to, which turned out to be a semi-local business. The lady who answered the phone says that the purchaser of the bird is a friend of her husband, who lives a few towns over. However, her husband apparently will not give her the friend's number (nor will he give it to myself). He did text the friend, but it's been over a week since I've heard anything from anyone. The lady at the business is trying to wash her hands of me, since she is unable to provide the phone number for the friend, and really doesn't care about a lost pigeon, no matter how much money was spent on it.

    I've looked up the buyer in the white pages, and have left several messages with his wife, who will neither confirm nor deny that her husband at any point had pigeons. It's partly a language barrier and partly she's a bit paranoid - which I think I can understand?, as the seller has pointed out to me several times that the purchaser ran into some kind of financial trouble with a few of the pigeon auction sites (they apparently are a big name in the pigeon world and have their hands in every pot) and wants ME to track him down for them - way beyond what I signed on to do here, and frankly, none of my business.

    So finally, my questions:
    - How long can I be expected to try and track this owner down? It's been a little over a month now, of constantly leaving voicemails and trying to find this guy. So far, I've been told he knows I have the bird, and he has my phone number but he hasn't called.

    - If I cannot find the owner, do I have any standing to sell the bird on my own? I know the breeder has talked with the people running the obvious pigeon auction sites, and informed them that he is a) looking for the buyer, and b) someone in my city has the bird. He's definitely asked where I live enough times. I could sure use the money, but I'm trying to do the right thing here, by the bird, and its current owner and not be greedy. The breeder keeps being extremely pushy about getting the bird back, going so far as to "cite" federal laws about pigeon responsibility based on its band (there are no federal bands on this pigeon, only the racing club) that do not apply, or appear to exist.

    - If I can/should sell the bird - where? Craigslist? It's some kind of fancy breeding pigeon, from imported bloodlines, etc. I have a feeling that if I did try the obvious auction sites, the breeder will chime in and accuse me of stealing the bird or something because they want it back. Not to mention I only have the breeder's word what kind of pigeon and from what lines - with nothing on paper to back that up.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2010
  2. Mary Of Exeter

    Mary Of Exeter Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2009
    Rowan County, NC
    If it has a racing band, then it is a racing pigeon. But of course they can still get lost, after being kept as a breeder only at another person's home. I don't doubt it being out of some fancy expensive bloodlines, or else he wouldn't be so set on getting it back. Without a pedigree or bloodline/strain names to go with the bird, it probably won't bring in much more than $25 or so. Probably won't earn you much compared to all the trouble it's putting you through.
    I think the easiest thing here would be to return it to the breeder so avoid any conflict. But I wouldn't waste any gas money getting it to them. If they want their bird back, make them come to YOU. Or if they want you to ship it, have them provide you with the shipping money and box. The bird is their responsibility, and if they aren't willing to go get the bird themself, then you should just find it a new home.
  3. Chickie'sMoma

    Chickie'sMoma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 21, 2009
    Rochester, NH
    if you have any kind of humane society or rescue place for birds you could always put the word out with them as well. because it is obvious that if the said owner has not come rushing to come and get it that they must not want it as badly anymore. the rescue place would make sure it has a good home through screening of any applicants.
  4. Kansaseq

    Kansaseq Prairie Wolf Farm Asylum

    Feb 12, 2009
    NE Kansas
    Not sure about 'pigeon breeder' laws, but I would not return/give the bird to it's breeder. It's not his bird anymore, as he sold it to a third party. You have no legal contract with him; he said the bird is not his, so you've got NO obligation to give the bird to him, no matter how pushy he gets. I would continue only a little longer trying to contact the real owner, before trying to sell it. You could give a message to the friend's wife, and say that if he fails to get in touch with you, you will consider the bird abandoned and yours. I'm not sure what else you can do. You are obviously trying to do the right thing, here.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2010
  5. ChickenladyinMN

    ChickenladyinMN Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 20, 2008
    Isanti, MN
    I would check the local laws on finding an animal - I know here we have to report it to authorities and after 30 days it is yours to do with what you want. But in your case it kind of sounds like they don't want the bird back if it is so special you would think they would have called right away.
  6. chickensioux

    chickensioux Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 12, 2009
    Western North Carolina
    I too, found a racing pigeon, contacted the owner, and he was less than interested in getting it back. If it doesn't come "home" alot of times they don't want them back. I kept mine. Sweet bird.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by