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'An Important Bird' : Olympics Pigeon Has Shattering Experience

September 12, 1985|CHARLES HILLINGER | Times Staff Writer

It was a quiet Sunday morning and Anne Swears' children were in the living room of their Rolling Hills Estates home watching television.

All of a sudden a white pigeon began flying frantically against the large living room window. The window broke. The children screamed. The pigeon flew through the broken window into the house, banging around a bit before finally alighting on the frame of a dining room painting.

Swears opened the front door and tried to shoo the bird out of the house.

"Mom, that's not just any old bird. That's an important bird," said Courtney Swears, 9. "He's so pretty."

And indeed, the interloper was no ordinary bird. It was a famous bird, and therein lies a tale.

Anne Swears caught the bird, which was not injured, and placed it in an empty cage formerly occupied by Blueberry Muffin, the family's recently deceased parakeet.

On the pigeon's leg was a silver band with a phone number and the words Olympic Racer.

Flew in Opening Ceremony

No one on Sunday answered the pigeon's phone number, which turned out to be the office number of Hacienda Heights dentist Mel J. Carpenter.

Carpenter explained Monday that the bird was one of 200 white racing homing pigeons he had released at the Los Angeles Coliseum during last year's opening ceremonies for the Summer Olympics.

It turns out that Carpenter, who raises homing pigeons as a hobby, had released 100 of his Olympic birds at a wedding on a yacht in Marina del Rey at sunset Saturday.

"The weather was overcast and very dark. The pigeons got disoriented. The bird you have is one of 13 that hasn't made it home yet," said the dentist 36 hours after the pigeons were released.

He told Anne Swears that he was glad she called, said that he would pay for the broken window and that his sister would pick up the errant pigeon.

"See, Mom, I told you that pigeon was no ordinary bird," said Courtney as she and her 6-year-old sister, Whitney, fed the Olympic racer birdseed provided by a neighbor.

The girls' two brothers, Clayboy, 4, and Michael, 11 months, looked on in amazement at the big bird in Blueberry Muffin's old parakeet cage.

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