Pigeons have been carrying things around for people for ages. Some kind humans got a chance to return the favor recently by banding together in a frantic relay race to carry an injured bird to safety. It all started when Mel Tillery saw someone trying to shoo a "really messed up" bird off a Maryland road on April 27. Tillery scooped him up, put him in an empty box, drove home to Towson, and posted a photo on Tumblr, drawing the attention of fellow animal lovers. The pigeon spent a couple days in a cage on Tillery's porch sipping water and eating seeds and showing a will to live. Rehabbing him seemed like a real possibility, but the best option, Ramsey Loft, was 600 miles away in Georgia, writes Natalie Wallington in a Washington Post exclusive.
Tillery picked five people out of the 20 who volunteered to drive the bird, now called Passenger, to Georgia. Tillery drove Passenger, tucked in a cozy box labeled with a helpful note—"are your doors and windows closed?"—two hours south to Herndon, Virginia. Natalie Landsberg, 24, drove three more hours south to Richmond, where Rohan Maythe and Michael Dyess, both 27, took over. They passed Passenger along to Emily Orton in Chapel Hill, NC. Mae Kwong-Moses, a 26-year-old PhD student took the last leg. She got Passenger to Danielle Ramsey of Ramsey Loft at 2am on May 1—just in time, says Ramsey, who described Passenger as near death. Two weeks later, he's able to stand and flutter his wings. Ramsey guesses he’s about six months old and could live a long life. (Read more uplifting news stories.)