As I was walking P yesterday morning, I noticed pigeons hanging out on the wires above. Funny little creatures. I always thought that pigeons were mostly grey, but here they were spanning the spectrum of colors from white to dark grey. Such strange looking birds – remind me of The Penguin from that one Batman movie from when I was a teen… little head, awkward pear-shaped body and I bet they’d make a “mwaaaaaw” sound if they spoke human. As we went further along, P ran at a pigeon and it very awkwardly flew on top of a poll. Like super awkwardly. Like flapping its wings was a painful labour and it wasn’t going to make it up but then by some good grace of the Universe it was able to fly. What an awkward, stubby-little-dude-of-a-bird. Are pigeons really meant to fly? Yup, I’ve gone from observing a pigeon to judging pigeons in general. Ego. Awareness. I don’t even know the first thing about pigeons… time to fact find!
Pigeons have been around for a very long time – there’s archaeological evidence of their presence in Mesopotamia (modern day Iran and Iraq) dating as far back as 3000 BC. Feral pigeons (the urban pigeons that we see around us – they are actually domesticated pigeons that have returned to the “wild”) are descendants of the wild Rock pigeons found in coastal regions. The Rock pigeon’s natural habitat includes the cliff-sides and rock ledges of open and semi-open areas. Pigeons as “wild” (non-urbanized) creatures – not something I’ve ever thought about.
Now, for something I knew, but pushed to the back of my mind: pigeons are actually very strong fliers – they can fly up to 40-50 miles per hour! This, combined with their intelligence, ability to detect the earth’s magnetic fields, and ability to tell direction by the sun resulted in pigeons being used extensively during the First and [to a lesser extent] Second World Wars to carry messages across enemy lines. Although the last “pigeon-run” post-service was closed down in India in 2004, the bond between [hu]man and pigeon has continued to blossom through pigeon racing, a popular sport and hobby throughout the world. Moreover, according to the Canadian Pigeon Fancier’s association, pigeon keeping is the third most followed hobby in the world (although I’m not sure where they got this stat!).
So there ya go – I made an observation about a pigeon one early morning, and then allowed that observation to turn into a judgment about pigeons in general… and boy was I wrong. Observe, but don’t judge. Awareness of the ego.
*I obtained this info from various sites off Google, but the ones that I found most useful were: Project PigeonWatch and Deterapigeon’s 21 amazing facts.*