Pigeons - The Urban Bird

Pigeons - The Urban Bird

I sat outside sipping coffee in the city I love. And pigeons were strutting around doing their thing. They were flirting and pecking at the sidewalk. And I thought, "Dang, they are just like us!" And I fell in love all over again with these resilient beasts. 

One of my favorite pigeons of Instagram, Adelaide, built a nest in a colander in a stranger's kitchen when she was out of town for 2 months and left the window cracked. (The apt. went coop. hahaha).

Did you know that during both World Wars in the early 1940’s, their homing ability was used? the American Signal Pigeon Corps consisted of 3,150 soldiers and 54,000 birds. Some 90 per cent of the messages got through! These avian secret agents saved countless lives.

Here is a recount of one of the missions a war pigeon successfully completed (from Wikipedia):

In the summer of 1943, All Alone, a blue hen, parachuted with a spy into Vienne, France. The agent learned important information about the Milice, a secret paramilitary group that was to conduct assassinations, round up Jews for deportation, and to attack the French resistance. All Alone carried this information more than four hundred miles, across the English Channel, back to her home in Staines, England, in less than twenty-four hours. The speed of her flight and the urgency of its success earned All Alone a Dickin Medal, an award known as the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross, "...for Gallantry and Devotion to Duty" in 1946. Of the 54 Dickin Medals awarded in World War II, 32 went to pigeons! 

Not only have pigeons been war heroes, experiments have shown that the humble feral pigeon can be trained to distinguish music by Bach and Stravinsky, and paintings by Monet and Picasso.

So next time someone says something mean about pigeons, imagine them being honored with a medal for devotion to duty.

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