I have previously blogged about pigeons and discussed some great resources that can be found out there. Today, I will explore there history a little further.
Since we are coming off of Veteran’s Day (thank you all of our service men and women) I think it is appropriate to mention some of the pigeons that have served our country. This is no joke. Cher Ami was a WWI messenger pigeon that helped save lives–specifically members of New York’s 77th Division of US Army. During a battle in France, the battalion was separated from allied forces and surrounded by the enemy. The allies started firing and did not know that their own troops were in the fray. The battalion sent out messenger pigeons to get word to the allies to stop shooting. After two pigeons were shot down, the third and last pigeon (Cher Ami) was sent out. Despite being shot in the breast and having a leg shot off, he was able to fly the message to the Allies and the shooting stopped. See the full story http://www.birds.cornell.edu/pigeonwatch/resources/pigeons-in-history
or learn more and see Cher Ami’s preserved body at the Smithsonian Institute National Museum of American History.
Pigeons were domesicated over 5000 years ago and was introduced from Europe to North America in the 1600’s. Pigeons have been used for food, as pets, bred for showing and racing, and used to send messeges such as Cher Ami.
Bokhara trumpeter pigeon
Pigeons can be kept in coops and allowed to fly freely and expected to return home. They are able to navigate their way back home by sensing the earth’s magnetic field.
So what is the difference between pigeons and doves? not much. Pigeons and doves belong to the family Columbidae and the order columbiforme. What we consider pigeons seen in most urban settings are also called rock doves and are a species of doves (Columba livia).
So now you know why I love pigeons. If you are looking for more pictures, books and resources of these amazing birds, please refer back to my blog from July 2011.