Racing Homer pigeon makes pit stop in Delaware County yard on the way home

The bird showed up in the backyard of FOX 29's Bruce Gordon Sunday afternoon. It looked like a male racing pigeon. It looked hungry and, perhaps, lost?

Monday, the bird was still there.

While the lost pigeon was checking the quickest route home, Gordon headed to Landenberg, Chester County to meet with pigeon rehabber Judy Rice, who nurses back to health pigeons of all kinds. There are all kinds of pigeons - racing pigeons, show pigeons and pigeons with goofy looking feathered feet. And, there are all kinds of organizations pitting them against one another.

"It's remarkable to me, the scope of all of this. Who knew there was all this pigeon stuff going on? They're not just for statues anymore," Gordon said.

Judy Rice looked at the bands around the ankles of the pigeon. One is a computer chip used when racing. The other marks the bird as a year-old and a member of the Reading Pigeon Club. It's affiliated with the International Federation of Homing Pigeon Fanciers.

"It's a specific breed called a Racing Homer," said Rice.
"A Racing Homer?" asked Gordon.
"Capital 'R,' capital 'H,' said Rice.
"Sounds like something out of the 'Simpson's' - Racing Homer!" Gordon said.

Perhaps the bird has a little too much Homer Simpson in him.

Through information on the ankle bands, Gordon got a hold of the pigeon's owner, David Demco, out of Reading.

Demco says his bird was exercising up in the air over the weekend when a flock of racing pigeons came by. He believes his bird got caught up in the excitement, followed the flock, got disoriented and came down for a break in the Gordon's backyard.

Good thing, too, as he spent part of Monday on the roof of the neighbor's house, while a Red-tail Hawk circled menacingly above.

"Red-tail Hawks are very fond of pigeons because they are a very meaty bird, as birds go," said Rice.