Monday, May 25, 2009

Homing Pigeons

Have you heard of homing pigeons before? Probably a lot of you have. Not me though (hey, I grew up in the boondocks.) lol
Last week we celebrated Memorial Day at the facility where I work. Part of the celebration was to release 25 pigeons in the air. That was my first time to hear about pigeons having the ability to go home where they were raised. I was so amazed and flabbergasted that I had to talk to the owner. She said they started training homing pigeons at an early age. They encourage them to fly around the house or porch first at around 1 month old to give them freedom to explore their surroundings. They normally don't give them food before they do this so that the birds will go back in the house to feed. Once they are trained to go back, they will drive a few miles away from their house and release them again. They always make sure that there is food waiting for the birds at home as rewards. They keep doing this, increasing the distance gradually until the birds are fully trained to return home. Pictured below is the owner, getting ready to release the pigeons.



... off they go!


It's hard to see (white speckles in the sky) but they circled about 3 times, waiting for the rest of them before they headed home.



The owner said they get requests from weddings, birthdays, graduation parties and even funerals for their birds to "show off." ;)
Now that I think about it, birds do migrate to the south in the winter so they must have this ability and/or instinct to navigate, so now I wonder if other kinds of birds can be trained too, to come home. Hmmmm?

8 comments:

Mari said...

Homing pigeons were used during WWII to carry messages attached to their legs. I have wondered how they did that. Now I know.

This is an informative post. Thanks.

docgelo said...

Although homing pigeons are common here in the Philippines, it's rare to see a female who raises birds and definitely her efforts may yield profits especially on special occasions you mentioned.
I can imagine how a wedding or a funeral can be so poetic with these pigeons.

laagan said...

You place looks so nice to live in. I did no know that there is such thing as "homing pigeons" thanks for this information :-)

Sidney said...

We even have competitions with pigeons in Belgium.
They are transported somewhere far away... and the winner is the pigeon who arrives home first...

Joy said...

I used to have a neighbour in Manila who had loads and loads and loads of pigeons. Very well trained.

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Meryl (proud pinay) said...

oh pigeons! my cousins have pigeons.. i like to look at them flying in the air. ^_^ nice pics.

ghee said...

pigeons are very smart birds pala :)

dodong flores said...

I saw a homing pigeon in action carry messages in the movie Zorro. The pigeon was captured and cooked and Elena was caught by the enemy...