Whistler family hopes to reunite missing pigeon with owner, reluctantly

Mark Beaven believes the bird is domesticated and may belong to a man living in a van, but also admits he and his family are enjoying the well-behaved bird's company. "We'd hate to see him go."

Mark Beaven believes the charismatic bird is domesticated and may belong to a man living in a van

Walter P. John is a well-behaved, mild-mannered pigeon that drinks water and eats popcorn kernels. The Beavens have been looking for its true owner since September. (Roshan Beaven)

A Whistler B.C. man hopes to reunite what he believes to be a domesticated pigeon with its original owner, but admits his family is enjoying have the animal around.

In September, Mark Beaven went outside his home and noticed a pigeon nearby. He thought seeing the bird was unusual for Whistler because he rarely sees them.

A couple days later, he went out on his balcony and the same pigeon flew up to meet him. Beaven held out his hand to the bird, and it marched over and began pecking at it.

Since then, the pigeon has become like an additional member of Beaven's family.

It is now named Walter P. John — after Canadian actor Walter Pidgeon — and the Beaven family is on a quest to find its original owner.

"He's a bit of a character. He walks around in circles cooing, and flaps his wings in his morning routine," said Beavens.

"It just puts a smile on our faces. We've grown quite fond of him."

The Beaven's figure Walter is a domesticated pigeon, because it is exceptionally receptive to humans. The family feeds Walter a diet of primarily water and popcorn kernels.

It wasn't until the Beavens posted a photo of the bird on Facebook, that they received any information about the bird's origins.

The plot thickens

One of Mark Beaven's neighbours saw the picture of Walter, and told him that an unknown man had been sleeping in his van on his property for a few nights

Eventually the neighbour asked the man to leave, but he told Beaven's neighbour that he couldn't, because he had lost his pigeon.

Walter is of the animal family Columbidae, which includes pigeons and doves — animals famed for their intelligence. (Roshan Beaven)

The neighbour gave Beaven a description of the mysterious man's van, and any other information he could. Beaven and his family have since made posters and distributed them around Whistler.

Beaven says they have not yet received any tips, but admit they are getting used to having the bird in their home.

"We hate to see him go," he said.

With files from The Early Edition