Times article nets owner, but not Larry Bird
An article in the June 29 issue of The Times about Larry Bird, a wayward pigeon who took up a gourmet roosting spot at Jimmy Seas Pan Pasta Restaurant on Kennebec Avenue in Oak Bluffs, solved Jordan Wallace's mystery about his missing bird.
Jordan, age 13, said a family friend up-Island who gave him the pigeon recognized it from the article and called his father. Although Jordan was relieved, he said he had not worried too much, because pigeons are smart birds and he figured his pet was okay.
Jordan said he especially enjoyed reading about the theories put forth by birders and animal experts, who guessed that the pigeon was an ornamental racing pigeon, perhaps led astray by a flock of racing pigeons out of Fall River. "Sometimes people need a little picker-upper," he laughed.
Jordan Wallace with one of his missing bird Dove's siblings, a fantail pigeon. Photo by Ralph Stewart
For a few glorious weeks, Jordan's regular fantail pigeon had lived an exotic double life, feasting off pasta, bread, and water, strutting around on the restaurant's railing as the focus of diners' attention. And what a truly double life it was, as Larry Bird is actually a girl named Dove, who flew the coop not far from her home only a few streets away on Saco Street.
Jordan said Dove is his favorite of four pigeons he received as a birthday present on June 2. She flew off a few weeks ago, the first time he gave her the chance. "She was a little excited," he said. "I think she was thinking of freedom."
He said he did not report Dove as missing, because his other birds always come back. Fantail pigeons are not the greatest flyers, anyway, he said.
"They can flutter, but not like usual birds," Jordan explained. "They can only stay in the air for a few seconds." It probably took Dove the course of a day to get to Jimmy Seas, he estimated, as she flew from perch to perch.
Unfortunately, by the time Jordan saw the article and called Jimmy Cipolla, the restaurant's owner, Dove was no longer there. Jordan has been checking back regularly in the area near the restaurant, especially near the post office where other birds hang out, and around the docks where wild pigeons gather.
"If she gets hungry enough, she'll come back," Jordan said with assurance, adding that, "If she doesn't want to get caught, she won't be. You have to catch her roosting."
Dove and her siblings are about a year old, Jordan said. They live in a cage on the deck of his treehouse, safely out of cat range where he can keep an eye on them. He goes up and lets them out to stretch their wings each day. Their cage is temporary housing until he finishes building them something to coo about, a pigeon house with a netted-in area.
"I've always loved birds," Jordan said. "When I get older, I'm interested in getting a license for birds of prey." He had a pigeon once before that he found injured on his dinghy and nursed back to health, releasing it later.
"It kind of sparked my interest in birds," he explained. Before that, his Dad had found sparrows on the side of the road once or twice that Jordan also revived.
However, birds are not his only interest, as Jordan said he likes animals in general. The pigeons are part of the Wallace family's menagerie, which includes dogs, cats, a parakeet, turtle, fish, lizards, frogs, and pythons. His sister keeps a horse at a farm, as well.
Jordan, the oldest of four, said his parents, Mark and Patricia, "are so good to my two brothers and sister and I about having animals. They always loved animals when they were young."
Jordan said he takes a cup of pigeon feed when he walks around Oak Bluffs looking for Dove. His next tactic may be to try pasta, he joked.
The staff at Jimmy Seas is keeping an eye out for Dove and has promised to call Jordan the minute she lands. In the meantime, if anyone spots an unusual looking gray and white pigeon with a tuft of head feathers and ruffled foot feathers, distract her with some tortellini and give Jordan's Dad Mark a call at 1-508-889-4834.