Pigeon rides ferry every day for 3 years

July 18, 2011 at 1:24 PM

NEW YORK, July 18 (UPI) -- Crew members of a New York Waterway ferry said the same feral pigeon has ridden the vessel every day for the past three years.

The crew members of the Thomas Jefferson ferry from Manhattan to Weehawken, N.J., said the pigeon, nicknamed Tony, boards the vessel every day during the rush hour commute and rides the ferry back and forth for about two hours, the New York Daily News reported Monday.

The crew said the bird returns for another two-hour shift during the evening commute.

"I've been working this job for 23 years and I've never seen anything like this," said senior deckhand George Schumpp, 52. "Three years ago, this pigeon shows up and starts going through the cabin and eating crumbs. Next thing you know, he's here every day at the exact same time. And he does more work cleaning than my partner."

Schumpp and others working on the boat said the bird has only been known to miss days if there is a blizzard involved.

The crew said they have made Tony their unofficial mascot and have set up a Facebook page in his name.

"I've been a New Yorker my whole life and we're not big fans of pigeons, but Tony has changed the way I think," Schumpp said. "He's really smart and unique. He thinks he's human. He'll walk on and off the boat with the passengers. The passengers love him."

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