Dick and Charlotte Webb of Liberty County have been using computers and the internet for years now.
"Just to look up information on subjects that we would like to be familiar with or get more information on what we have," said Charlotte. "We use the other programs for various thing that we need, to write letters, keep spreadsheets, databases, whatever."
"You can tell she's proficient, I am not," joked Dick.
They found another use for the web after an unusual find in their yard recently: a pigeon picking at the ground under their pear tree. It's the sort of bird you don't see in these parts much, about ten miles west of Hinesville.
Their first thought was to try to look him up online--"It's 2004, that's where you go," said Dick--and see if the number on his leg band could trace him. After some Googling, they were able to identify their bird as, of all things, an English racing pigeon. English as in, from England.
"Unbelievable," said Dick. "I don't believe he flew here. I think perhaps he got on a big container ship among all the superstructure, something like that."
So they named him Tony, in honor of British prime minister Tony Blair.
Tony seems comfortable in America, even though he mostly has to stay in a cage. "He goes out behind the pull barn and will pick out there for just hours. And he seems just oblivious to everything," said Dick. "I'm afraid a cat will get him."
Tony may be far from home, but using the internet, the Webbs were able to find out who his owner is. They've been in email contact with the Royal Pigeon Racing Association, and one of their notes reads, in part, "The bird is owned by a Mr. Copping who hails from Norwich in Norfolk, and we will advise him of where his pigeon has got to. I'm sure he'll be surprised."
Dick told us, without the internet, "We would have been dead in the water. We just had a bird here we gave feed and water."
Thanks to the number on the bird's leg band and some helpful folks online, the Webbs say Tony could be soon headed home.
"Oh yeah, we'll do whatever we can," said Dick.
"We'd do whatever we could if he would want him back to have him shipped back, we would," added Charlotte.
It seems Tony has friends on both sides of the pond.