Monday, November 12, 2007

Homing Pigeon

One of seven pigeons that we picked up from a fellow who had way too many for his small loft. This one would have been one of ten if I hadn't have let the first five out of captivity too soon and three flew off never to return.
It turns out that you must keep the birds for several weeks in a new location before you release them else they will return (or try to return) to their previous home. These birds have been domesticated for centuries to return to their source, sometimes for thousands of miles, to deliver an attached message. What the mechanism is for this is still a mystery; still being researched. Tiny pieces of magnetite in their heads is one possible reason , as they orient to the magnetic fields of earth.
I found a dead pigeon on the road and picked it up about the time this fellow was looking for takers of some of his bunch (your basic synchronisity) and it turned out that it was a racing pigeon, one of thousands in the world released miles from home and timed to its' return. They have leg bands which not only identify the owner but register a return to the original loft for purposes of competition and recordkeeping (big surprise-- competition). So I had to get some birds, as directed by coincidence, didn't I?
Anyways, I have another week before release of the latest 5 (3 of which are really young), so maybe these will return to my humbly-built abode and brighten my day with their presence.

Update: two weeks later: All six birds are flying now. Circling the sky in a counterclockwise circle above my head. A flexible wing of soaring beauty threading through the trees at the edge of the lake and disappearing over the woods to appear with a new leader (a confab in the trees?).
Back each night in their loft to be closed up against beasts of the night and other dark treachery.

37 comments:

jim said...

Very interesting pets Goatman. Enjoyed reading about them, and you getting involved with them.

polona said...

he looks a beautiful bird. and it is truly amazing how they find their way home.
good luck with your pigeons!

Mother of Invention said...

They are fascinating. My grandmother used to keep them and even sent them messages to her sister's farm a few miles away from them. I always thought that was neat! It doesn't surprise me that they have to be kept in a new place for a few weeks before they consider "IT" home, the previous home being so deeply ingrained.
Have fun with them.

Marion said...

My ex used to raise racing pigeons. He taught me a lot about them, but I still find it awe-inspiring how that homing instinct works.

It was indeed synchronism! You could not let the opportunity pass by...one day, perhaps, we'll be relying on them again.

There are no coincidences!

Josie said...

Those things amaze me. My grandfather used to keep homing pigeons. He was a Captain in the British Army, in the Signal Corps, and they used homing pigeons for messages at one time. Incredible things.

Janice Thomson said...

He's so beautiful Goatman. They truly are an amazing bird. I would love to have a pair in the backyard.

Anonymous said...

This an eye opener for the world of pigeon

Nasra

LJ said...

Goatman! Isn't he just beautiful...those soft, soft pinks and browns and greys.

Celestine said...

so interesting how we have made so much of nature useful to us in all kinds of ways

Princess Haiku said...

Who knows, these gentle souls may become necessary again some day as "civilization" falls away. I had a friend once who rescued a baby pigeon. Not knowing anything about them she hand fed him through the night, way longer than necessary. As a result he became a large and "stunning" fellow. For a few years after she released him he would stop back to visit her now and again. Eventually he disappeared.

Celestine said...

oh no goatman, im nt pregnant. im just writing.

Proxima Blue said...

I've always thought homing(sp?) pigeons were fascinating. I hope they come back too you!

-P

Azer Mantessa said...

our ancestors said birds can make us live a bit longer ... they said their sound can make us healthy ... no scientific prove though :-)

Reign said...

My brother used to have birds like that , they look great when they fly in flocks. Hope we can soar like them. ;0)

Weatherman said...

The bird looks exactly like the regular ones we have here! I am not sure if they are the same breed though. I had two once. Just remembered them. :)

Enemy of the Republic said...

I've always wanted to keep/train homing pigeons. Did you ever watch NYPD? Detective Simone kept them. So cool.

Thanks for your visit!

Princess Haiku said...

I know somebody who saved a baby pigeon once. He grew up to be a big buff boy and would stop back to visit on a regular basis for a few years. They are remarkable messenger birds.

Kathy said...

I love birds. I love to watch birds on a wire...they usually look in the same direction when theres more than one. they like watching us too :)

Weatherman said...

Hi, sorry I couldn't drop in earlier. As you can probably guess from my posts, I am quite all right. The storm didn't affect the city people much. The street people had a rough night though.

Suzan Abrams said...

A beautifully written, pensive post, Goatman. :-)

Elween said...

first of all i really anti- racing animals like horse and pigeons. that is so wrong but they make it sound so right.

that pigeon is beautiful! but i heard pigeons are very hard to keep, is that true?

your blog reminds me of my fren, Nea's blog, http://neababyblu1.blogspot.com/ :)

thx for visiting and have a wonderful day, Mr. Goatman! :)

Celestine said...

ryc: what are you referring to?

jim said...

Goatman, I was thinking about these pigeons this morning after I was at the public library a day ago and saw all the librarians sitting at there stations like birds on a wire lol, and I thought, gee, I hope your ducks don't get too jealous and rebel on you!

Zareba said...

Beautiful bird, Goatman. We have many wild birds and watching them is like ballet only more wondrous. Neat that they will come home.

We have humming birds that return every spring to the exact spot where the feeder was the previous year, and if it is not there, they will look in the door or windows to see if we have forgotten them.

Echo said...

The image of your words create a strong visual, more than the photo. An interesting phenomina.
Good Story.

jim said...

I am hearing about your weather, hoping you are well and warm, let us hear from you. My phone lines have been bad for two days and I am not near as under the gun as you are, but this is Texas, ugh, any kind of winter weather seems really bad here!

Azer Mantessa said...

merry christmas and happy new year.

Anonymous said...

Its been a while hope all is well with you ...

Hope you have lovely X-Mas

Nasra

Enemy of the Republic said...

Merry Christmas to you, friend.

su said...

Nice photos you have here in your virtual house!
: ))
Kisses from the TEIA.
In Lisbon (portugal) we have lots of pigeons that are becoming one of the turistical attractions!! lolololol

Marion said...

I hope you had a very Merry Christmas, and that 2008 will bring much joy and peace your way, Goatman!

Happy New Year!

Mari said...

Goatman, I'm sorry I missed your comment on my blog. It went to my comment moderation, not in my email. I have posted it already.

I will come back here and read some more later.

Thanks for your comment.

mari

Celestine said...

i have awarded you with the colors of friendship badge. merry christmas!

d. chedwick bryant said...

it is a mystery! very interestin g post.

Sophia said...

Goatman,

Another fine example of your love for animals. This pigeon is so beautiful. It looks very gentle!

Happy New Year!

Oliviah said...

Ooh, how neat. I have a pigeon.. he is an English Trumpeter, who is spoiled rotten. His favorite playmate is Gracie, the youngest kitty. They play so rough it looks like they are trying to kill each other but they are having a blast. This is how they have played since Gracie was a tiny kitten. But as far as trying him as a homing bird, I wouldn't dare takes the chance with Caesar because his feathers really make him stand out & there are so many hawks & predators around here. I hope you have a lot of fun with your birds.

GEWELS said...

Rather amazing creatures- wouldn't you say?

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