EPPING – The fate of a homing pigeon that stopped by the Epping police station after getting lost on a flight home to Massachusetts is unknown.
The 4-month-old bird hasn’t been seen since it was released from police custody earlier this month.
The pigeon first arrived outside the police station on Sept. 29. Worried about its safety, police took the bird into custody and held him over night.
Police learned that his owner was Gerry Gaumond of New Braintree, Mass., and that he became lost during a pigeon race that began in New York. He was expected to return home with the rest of Gaumond’s pigeons participating in the race, but it’s believed that he lost his way because he’s young and inexperienced.
Police released the pigeon on Sept. 30 and assumed he would make it home by the end of the day. However, he was found a short distance away and returned to the police department.
A second attempt to send the bird home on its own was made on Oct. 3 when Animal Control Officer Bill Hansen brought the pigeon to Depot Road in the area of the Exit 6 on-ramp to Route 101 and let him go.
The bird didn’t immediately take off. It flew up onto the roof of a house nearby and perched itself there.
Hansen didn’t hang around to see if the pigeon would leave. He assumed it would get its bearings and take off when it was ready.
“The last time I saw him he was sitting on that roof,” Hansen said Thursday.
Police received sightings of the pigeon in the area where it was released days later, but no one seems to know where he ended up.
Gaumond said it’s possible the pigeon could still fly home, but unlikely.
“Every day the chances get slimmer, but you never know. There’s a one in a million chance,” he said.
Gaumond, who races pigeons with his daughter through a club, said he’s had pigeons arrive home two months after they disappeared.
But their chances of survival diminish the longer they’re in the wild as they become easy prey for other animals.
Gaumond will soon begin breeding more pigeons to fly in races next year.
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