Melbourne’s most famous bird – Joe the Pigeon – has been spared his life after it was revealed he wasn’t from the US after all.

The Australian government said Joe the Pigeon is “highly likely to be Australian and does not present a biosecurity risk.”

“The department is satisfied that the bird’s leg band is a fraudulent copy of a legitimate leg band,” a spokesperson from the Department of Agriculture said.

“No further action will be taken by the department in relation to this matter.” 

It was originally reported that Joe had been found in a Victorian backyard in December 2020, and that his tag had indicated he had been from half the planet away. Oregon in the US.

The story quickly spread around the world with reports the Australian government would have to kill Joe for biosecurity risks.

However, it turns out Joe was an Aussie bird after all.

The American Pigeon Racing Union wrote on Facebook that the pigeon “sports a counterfeit band and need not be destroyed per biosecurity measures.” 

“What a relief to know that Joe the Pigeon found in Australia is not a genuine AU band,” the union wrote.

“The true band is in the U.S, worn by a Blue Bar, not the pigeon featured in news photos about Joe,” they added.

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Ryan is Contributing Editor