It is very rare to hear someone say something nice about a pigeon. Most of the time people tend to complain about them, their unsightly droppings, and how annoying it is to have them flying around their property.
So perhaps it is time to promote the positive about pigeons and to even illustrate how heroic (yes, heroic!) these birds have been in the past.
The theme of pigeons as a vital and reliable messenger service, prior to our modern age of emails, texts and instant messaging, is a recurring one throughout history.
Pigeon as war heros –feral pigeons were used extensively during the World Wars to carry important messages across enemy lines, helping to save thousands of lives. They were even carried on ships so that in the case of an attack the pigeon could be released to carry information about the exact location of the sinking ship, to try to rescue survivors in time.
Bravery award for pigeons – the French awarded a pigeon named Cher Ami (Dear Friend) the Croix de Guerre for heroic services in WWI. G.I. Joe, a famous pigeon in the United States Army Pigeon Service, was awarded the Dickin Medal for helping to save the lives of the inhabitants of an Italian village and the British troops occupying it, which was about to be bombarded by the Allied Forces.
Pigeons in the news – did you know that the history of Thomson Reuters, the world’s largest international multimedia news agency, can be traced back to the use of a combination of technology and a fleet of carrier pigeons that numbered above 200 by 1851, carrying vital stock market information across Europe.
Racing pigeons – the hobby of pigeon racing brings a great deal of fun to many people’s lives and its popularity led to the establishment of the American Racing Pigeon Union. Homing pigeons were first introduced to the United States from Europe in the 1800s and they are often raced across very long distances from 100miles to 600miles. A racing pigeon once sold for a record breaking $132,517.00
Prized pigeon droppings – although no longer valued in our modern society, once upon a time pigeon poo was a valuable commodity and regarded as a fantastic fertilizer of crops. In England it was even used for making gunpowder.
So, the next time we start to complain about pigeons and reach for the phone to arrange for pigeon control, let’s bear in mind all the good pigeons have done for us humans and continue to do so today – perhaps it may help to clam down some of our stress levels when dealing with a problem. No guarantees though!