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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 July, 2003, 09:07 GMT 10:07 UK
Pigeon home after New York detour
A pigeon
Billy might have stowed on a ship for part of his trip
A racing pigeon who took a wrong turn on his way from France to Merseyside and ended up in New York has finally come home to roost.

Billy the pigeon was only due to fly the 425 miles from Calais to his home in Merseyside in the race three weeks ago.

But he took a remarkable 3,321 mile detour and ended up on New York pigeon fancier Joseph Ida's terrace among his flock of 100 racing birds.

Billy now has to spend a month in quarantine before getting back to his creature comforts.

"You could see that he had been out," said Mr Ida, who added that Billy looked a little tired, thin and run down.
It was a pleasure to have a VIP - a very important pigeon - on board
British Airways spokesman

Saving Billy another marathon journey over the Atlantic, bosses at British Airways agreed to bring him home for free.

The pigeon touched down at Manchester Airport on Wednesday morning following a six-hour flight from JFK International Airport, and was reunited with his owner John Warren, of Bootle, Merseyside.

Billy will have to spend 31 days in quarantine before returning home.

A British Airways spokesman said: "He had a pleasant flight. It was a pleasure to have a VIP - a very important pigeon - on board."

The spokesman said Billy was "very perky" following the flight in a pressurised hold.

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