Pigeon homes in on China

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The Independent Online
A HOMING pigeon which got lost while flying between France and England has turned up safe and well in China.

The two-year-old pigeon, now dubbed Hong Kong Phooey, failed to return home to the Khan family in Stoke-on-Trent after setting off from Nantes two months ago.

However, this week the family received a letter from eastern China, containing a photograph of the wayward bird and a request to be allowed to adopt it. A note attached to the photograph read: "Your pigeon GB 97-2-50942 have already arrive China. Please post the descent of your pigeon."

The Khans were traced via an address stamped on one of the male bird's feathers.

Pigeon experts believe the bird may have made the 5,384-mile journey by nesting on a boat.

Bobby Khan, who co-owns the pigeon with his two brothers and father, said: "I guess the pigeon doesn't like British winters so decided to go somewhere else."

The Khans have agreed to let the bird stay in its new-found home and plan to post the pigeon's pedigree to China.

Peter Bryant, the general manager of the 47,000-member Royal Pigeon Racing Association, said: "It's very unusual to have a British bird arrive in a country so far away, but it had probably hitched a lift on a ship ... it's very, very unlikely that this bird has flown all the way to China."