Wearing an out-of-date band that reads “Cpru85 28099 aka Boomer,” a homing pigeon has taken up residence in a private greenhouse on Yankee Flats Road. Property owner Debbie Marzorini is hoping to find Boomer’s real home or some other sanctuary for him before the cold weather arrives. (Photo contributed)

Wearing an out-of-date band that reads “Cpru85 28099 aka Boomer,” a homing pigeon has taken up residence in a private greenhouse on Yankee Flats Road. Property owner Debbie Marzorini is hoping to find Boomer’s real home or some other sanctuary for him before the cold weather arrives. (Photo contributed)

Shuswap homing pigeon in need of new abode

Carrier pigeon wearing outdated identification band takes up residence in Yankee Flats

A pigeon has homed in on Debbie Mazorini’s Yankee Flats property.

Trouble is, it’s not his (or her) real home.

Marzorini was sitting on her back deck enjoying a cup of coffee with her spouse when the pigeon named Boomer first arrived in mid-June.

“He landed on the gazebo and it seemed he recognized my voice, so maybe he was raised by a woman,” she says of the domestic pigeon she believes is a male. “He came towards me, stopped and looked and then flew over to our pond.”

Boomer quickly changed direction when Marzorini’s cats appeared on the scene. He eyed the couple’s greenhouse for a bit before moving in and making it his new home.

“He started following me, walking along on the ground while I was work in our big garden,” she says. “When it was hot, I was out there every day; he’d go on the roof of the green house or in different trees.”

Most mornings, Marzorini says Boomer likes to take to the skies for a bit and sometimes perches in different trees on the property throughout the day. But he always returns to his roost in the greenhouse to spend the night.

Related: ‘On life support:’ Research shows common pesticides starve, disorient birds

A National Geographic online report states that until now, two main theories say that pigeons rely either on their sense of smell to find their way home or they follow the Earth’s magnetic field lines.

Marzorini wonders if the nearby BC Hydro transmission lines have confused the bird. But new research suggests the pigeons may be using ultralow frequency sounds to navigate.

Pigeons can fly between 600 and 700 miles in a single day, with the longest recorded flight in the 19th century taking 55 days between Africa and England and covering 7000 miles, reports England’s Pigeon Control Resource Centre’s website.

On advice from the Canadian Pigeon Racing Union, the Marzorinis took Boomer to Armstrong, hoping it would be far enough away for his homing instincts to kick in and lead him to his real home.

Not so. Boomer was back in the greenhouse the same day.

So the couple travelled farther away to Vernon, releasing the bird in a field at Davison Orchards.

“It took him almost a week, but he came back here,” says Marzorini. “He obviously wants to be here, but I think he’d like to be with other birds. They’re very intelligent and very social.”

Related: Salmon Arm Foreshore a rich habitat

Now that the busy gardening season is nearing an end, Marzorini says she is not outside as much and is worried Boomer will not be warm enough in her greenhouse over winter.

She has been feeding him and giving him water but does not want to bring him into her home over the winter.

“He gets excited when I bring his food down, he’s got quite a personality and he’s quite a friendly,” she says. “Homing pigeons don’t fend for themselves like wild ones do.”

Boomer wears a band that reads “Cpru 28099 aka Boomer,” but it is outdated and therefore not traceable.

“Ideally I want to find the owner, but if I can’t do that, I would like to find a place to send him,” Marzorini says, pointing out a rescue facility in Kelowna might be an option. “Some people have said stop feeding him, but that doesn’t seem humane.”


@SalmonArm
barb.brouwer@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Highway 5 pictured at Zopkios Southbound, Feb. 25 morning. (DriveBC)
Winter storm warning issued for Coquihalla, Highway 3

Up to 30 cm of snow expected by Friday (Feb. 26) morning

Every new portable added to a Central Okanagan school adds a $250,000 cost to the school district budget. (File photo)
Central Okanagan School District to seek greater public advocacy support

Trustees want ministry of education to address ‘dire straits’ regarding school space crunch

This historic photo is of Queensway Street in 1958, which used to be the off-ramp for the ferry to West Kelowna. To the right is the historic Willow Inn, which served as the Greyhound Bus terminal for years, in addition to being a popular restaurant and working man’s pub. It was also a strip bar and not exactly the tamest place in town. It once stood at 235 Queensway Ave. in Kelowna before being demolished in 2009. (Steven James photo)
A look back at Kelowna’s past

Queensway off-ramp circa 1958

Paul Lenz.
Top 40 over 40: Paul Lenz

Kelowna Chamber of Commerce hosts Top 40 Over 40 program

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)
30 new COVID-19 cases, five more deaths in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases to 7,271 since testing began

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

Pivot Rx is a new downtown Vernon pharmacy that aims to combine face-to-face care with the latest technological offerings in pharmaceutical care. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
New Vernon pharmacy takes ‘old-school’ approach to cutting-edge care

Pivot Rx has set up shop downtown in a building formerly home to MacKay’s Prescriptions for 40 years

Students from Summerland’s Okanagan College often posed for photographs on the Big Rock. The rock was on the northern slope of Giant’s Head Mountain. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum)
Summerland’s Big Rock had been desposited during last ice age

Rock was once a prominent feature on Giant’s Head Mountain

“Support your city” reads a piece of graffiti outside the Ministry of Finance office. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Slew of anti-bylaw graffiti ‘unacceptable’ says Victoria mayor, police

Downtown businesses, bylaw office and Ministry of Finance vandalized Wednesday morning

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Most Read