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?