Homing pigeons shut down Florida highway

Category: Science/Environment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. hazard / ˈhæz ərd / (n.) – something that’s likely to cause accidents, danger, or damage

    Sharp rocks on the mountain are a hazard to climbers.

  2. motorist / ˈmoʊ tər ɪst / (n.) – a person who drives a car, motorcycle, or another vehicle

    A motorist was caught driving too fast on the highway.

  3. startle / ˈstɑr tl / (v.) – to scare, frighten, or surprise someone

    I was startled by the loud noise.

  4. worst-case scenario / ˈwɜrst keɪs sɪˈnɛər iˌoʊ / (n.) – the most unpleasant thing that could possibly happen in a situation

    In the worst-case scenario, we may have to sell the company.

  5. scale / skeɪl / (n.) – one of the many flat, thin plates that cover the bodies of some animals

    My pet fish has colorful scales.


Read the text below.

An exit off Interstate 95 in Florida had to be closed for three hours after 100 homing pigeons fell off a truck and refused to move, posing a driving hazard to motorists, officials said June 30.

A crate carrying 100 homing pigeons fell off the truck late on June 29 near Daytona Beach. Because the birds roost at night, the pigeons stayed on the road until bright lights from vehicles startled them. They flew into the air and created a hazard for drivers, according to a news release from Volusia County officials.

“It’s the worst-case scenario — homing pigeons that can’t find their home,” the news release said.

Sheriff’s deputies, state troopers and animal service workers attempted to capture the pigeons, ultimately recovering 73. The birds did not have leg bands so their owner wasn’t immediately determined, officials said.

“Our job is to help animals find their way home, whether they’re covered in fur, scales or in this case feathers,” said Volusia County Animal Control Officer Alicia Dease. “We’re hoping someone out there might have information on where these birds came from or the truck that was carrying them.” (AP)

This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Officials determined the pigeons fell from a crate in the back of a truck. Do you think the truck driver should be held responsible for the incident? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Officials are now asking for the public’s help finding the birds’ owners. Why do you think the owner of the pigeons didn’t immediately claim them (ex. he/she wasn’t aware that they fell off the truck, he/she doesn’t want to get in trouble)? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • If the owner doesn’t claim the birds, what should officials do with them (ex. sell them to new owners, set them free)? Why? Discuss.
  • If you were on the road when the pigeons fell off the truck, would you have tried to catch the birds or just kept driving? Have you ever helped when you saw a hazard on the road? Why or why not? Discuss.