Six days before his inauguration, it appears Joe Biden has avoided an international incident that would've plunged his administration into crisis before he's even had a chance to get the West Wing fumigated.
Australian authorities have decided they will not euthanize a racing pigeon originally thought to be from Oregon after determining its identifying leg band is counterfeit.
In case you missed it—though really, how could you? What else is even going on right now?—in late December a man in Melbourne discovered a weakened pigeon in his backyard. Based on the number affixed to its leg band, the bird was believed to have traveled 8,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean, possibly hitching a ride on a cargo ship, after disappearing from a race in Madras.
This, naturally, upset some Americans:
Turns out, it appears to be a case of mistaken identity.
According to the Associated Press, representatives from the American Racing Pigeon Union confirmed that the number belongs to a different species of pigeon than the one found in Melbourne. In all likelihood, the bird—named Joe, indeed after the incoming U.S president—comes from A Land Down Under: Pigeon breeders there often order fake bands off the internet for record-keeping purposes.
(A pigeon with that number did go missing in October after a race in Central Oregon, but according to the guy who operates the competition, it sucks too much for anyone to care: "That bird didn't finish the race series, it didn't make any money and so it's worthless, really.")
Thus, Ol' Joe has been given a reprieve. He's recovered from his undernourishment and is currently hanging out in the same backyard where he was found, where the AP reports he's made friends with a local dove.
It's a good thing, because international law states that if Australia takes out one of our pigeons, we have to execute a Hemsworth brother. There's surely a treaty somewhere spelling all this out.