Pigeon Doesn't Make It Home

One of your birds that didn't make it home from the race has been found? What should you do?
Below are a few questions to ask yourself.

1. How far from home is the bird?(If it's only a few miles from you, the best thing to do is just go get the bird. This way, the finder of the bird knows that pigeon fanciers DO care about their birds. If the bird got THAT close to home, but couldn't make it all the way, there's a good chance it won't ever make it home)
3. How long was it missing before someone found it?(This alone will almost tell you what shape the bird is in.)
4. Did the finder have to "catch" the bird, or did they just pick it up?(If they had a hard time catching the bird, its possible that after a couple of days the bird can be released. If they actually picked the bird up without any problems, the chances of this bird making it home are slim. ESPECIALLY if it's a LONG ways from home)
4. Does the finder of your bird know anything about pigeons?(Finders who know nothing about pigeons will assume (if they just picked it up) that because it's banded, it's a "pet", not realizing that if it could, the bird would have flown away and not been caught so easily.)

Along with the above questions, you have to take in consideration how long the race was, how far the bird flew to get where it has been found and how far it has to fly to get home.
Not everyone can afford to have a bird shipped back home and with the price of gas, you may not be able to afford to drive to get the bird.
However, you should never tell someone to "just let the bird go" just because you can't afford to go get it.
You could always offer to let the people keep the bird. MANY people who find our birds don't know anything about them, but, after a few days, they absolutely fall in love with them. I've seen it happen time and time again. If that's what you decide to do, you need to educate the finders about the pigeon. Make sure they aren't going to stick it in a cage for the rest of it's life AND make sure that they know, if they let it loose, it will TRY to come home and may be lost forever.
If the finder keeping the bird is not an option, the next best thing to do is try to find a fancier in the area where the bird is and ask them to go get it for you. They may be able to give it to a new member in their club or keep it themselves OR maybe work something out with you on getting it back home.
Now, having said all of this, we all should know our birds pretty well and you know when a bird has gotten lost, whether it might be able to make it home or not.
The bottom line is, that bird was sent to a race (or training toss) by YOU. Whether the bird is not physically capable of flying the race you asked it fly, or it's just not the smartest bird in your loft doesn't matter. What matters is YOU are the one who put it out there and it's YOUR responsibility to see that the bird is taken care of.