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Still Waters

NZ rehoming pigeon returns after 24 years

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Still Waters

He might not have had the best homing instincts. But a New Zealand native pigeon – or kererū – named Pidge made it back, eventually, to the place of his hatching after 24 years missing in the wild.

Pidge, who was hand-reared at Rainbow Springs – a wildlife and nature park in Rotorua, on New Zealand’s North Island – disappeared in 1996 and was not seen again before his return in August. That would make the bird, identified by a numbered band on his leg, 29 years old; most references list kererū lifespans as between 15 and 25 years.

“To have Pidge up there almost 30, older than some of the keeping staff, was really exciting,” said Emma Bean, the kiwi hatchery manager for the park. He is likely to be the oldest living kererū, she added. The park is investigating reports that a slightly older bird might have lived at Hamilton Zoo and has since died.


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