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.