Friday, January 25, 2008

National Pigeon Day - June 13th

Dear Elected Government Representatives,

As you are aware pigeons are very much in the news, not only in New York City, but worldwide. What better time than to declare June 13th National Pigeon Day commemorating the death of Cher Ami (meaning Dear Friend in French).

His story can be found on the following link:

Pigeons heroically fought for our country during wars and were used by people as messengers, saving many human lives.

Cher Ami died of his multiple war wounds on June 13, 1919--less than a year after he had completed his service to the United States Army Signal Corps. Upon his death a taxidermist preserved the small pigeon for future generations, a bird with a story that became an inspiration to millions over the years.

On this special day, students in schools across the United States will commemorate this day by learning of the significant role pigeons played in the history of the World. This can appropriately tie in with New York State's Humane Education Law, enacted in 1947 that is not being complied with in our school system, which requires instruction in the humane care and treatment of animals. The law is not been enforced, and few educators know of its existence.

In September 2006, New York City Council Member Tony Avella introduced a resolution urging the New York City Department of Education to help schools comply with New York State's Humane Education Law by issuing a memo to all public schools in the city.

We respectfully request that June 13th be declared National Pigeon Day in honor of pigeons who are war heroes.

Anna Dove
New York Bird Club

Supporters: Happy LOL Day, Easy Book Reviews, Pale Male Irregulars, Lizard Marsh, Shadowed Flower, Animal Rights, Bird House, European Vegetarian & Animal News Alliance, Pigeon Blog, Envirolink, Animal Concerns

WNYC New York Public Radio on Pigeons

Men + Pigeons
January 24, 2008 – 10:56 am
Nikola Tesla spent the last 10 years of his life making daily pilgrimages from the New Yorker Hotel to Bryant Park to see the pigeons, especially a particular gray and white one. He wasn’t the only New Yorker preoccupied with pigeons: producer Benjamen Walker reports on other real-life and fictional New York men who liked them as well.

Video from WNYC's Culture Project:

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

If you Love Pigeons, You are in Good Company

Charles Darwin - (theorist) Scientist and Author whose writings include " On the Origin of Species (1859) The Descent Of Man (1871), The Voyage Of The Beagle (1909)" and a "A variety of plants and animals under domestication". Together with Wallace, offered the theory of evolution. Darwin kept all kinds of breeds of pigeons and who showed us that all breeds can be traced to Columba livia, the wild rock dove. He had a loft with a variety of fancy breeds which he used to develop his hypothesis of "Theory of Domestication" using selective breeding techniques. He was an active member of some London pigeon clubs, and reference to his pigeons and his scientific results is published and available on-line.

Pablo Picasso - (artist). Picasso loved pigeons so much that he named his daughter Paloma, which means pigeon in Spanish. Picasso's father also kept pigeons and specialized in painting the same.

Nicola Tesla. - American electricity pioneer. See:
"He used to have a walk every day in the park to feed the pigeons. If for any reason, he could not carry out this duty, he would pay a child to feed the pigeons in his place. There is a strange relation mentioned with a white pigeon which every day visited Tesla through his open window. He was kicked out of a few high brow Hotels for that, he would bring in injured birds and try to rehab them in the room. Tesla said that his life had a meaning as long as this pigeon existed, and indeed when the pigeon died, Tesla's work ended."

Isaac Bashevis Singer -In "PIGEONS" Singer wrote the most beautiful story I know about the Holocaust. Not surprisingly, it does not take on the subject directly but symbolically. The story has to do with one Professor Eibeschutz, a scholar who has taken to feeding the pigeons on the street below his apartment. He tells his Polish maid Tekla that doing so is more important to him than going to synagogue. "God is not hungry for praise," he reasons, "but the pigeons wait each day from sunrise to be fed. There is no better way to serve the Creator than to be kind to his creatures." One recalls here that, when asked why he had turned vegetarian, Singer said that he did it not for his own but for the chicken's sake.

Woody Allen - "I think people should mate for life, like pigeons or Catholics."

Walt Disney -Walt Disney was awarded the NPA Levi Service Award for the movie "Pigeon Fly Home".

Senator Hilaire La Haye, -Secretary to the Belgium Govt, he named his birds after prominent members of the Belgium Government.

Alexander Alexandrovich Romanova III - The Batiushka-Tsar of Russia kept his pigeons in a house like a small palace at Gatchina until his sad and surprising death in the Crimea in 1894. These pigeons were named "Ostanski Golubi" and "Pokrovski" that he acquired from his brother Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich Romanova after watching them fly as the young Tsarevich at Tsarskoe Selo.

Karl Hagenbeck - Who kept all kinds of breeds at his zoo in Hamburg, Germany. Hagenbeck was the first or among the first to do away with cages at his zoo, using moats instead.

Andy Capp - famous cartoon character.

Dr. Jean Hansell - "People just don't make the connection between the dove of peace and the pigeon in the street."

Jim Jenner - A pigeon enthusiast and filmmaker from Montana who has dedicated much of his life to making educational documentaries about his favorite bird. "For the past fifty years, I've watched the total erosion of respect for the bird," Jim says. "One of the world's most revered creatures and one of nature's most phenomenal athletes has been reduced to the status of vermin in the minds of the general public." Jenner is right, of course: Once a war hero, the feral pigeon is now the underdog of the animal kingdom.

Pigeons were brought to the United States by the first settlers. It is thought that they originated in Southern Asia. They have a typical lifespan of about 15 years, and the oldest known pigeon lived to be 33 years old. Like most humans, pigeons have a strong sense of family and devotion to their children. They mate for life, and both parents care for their young. They flock in large numbers in order to protect themselves against cats, hawks, owls, and rats. During breeding season, when there are many baby birds, both male and female pigeons produce milk in their crops, and all parents will feed all babies, whether or not they are their own.

Pigeons are known to be very intelligent. They quickly commit new images to memory and organize information in the same way that humans do. They can even distinguish between paintings of different styles and by different artists.

Pigeons also have excellent vision. They can see not just color, but also ultraviolet light. They can see far better than humans can and also are able to concentrate on a visual task for many more hours than we can—a discovery that led to a joint Coast Guard and Navy venture called Project Sea Hunt, in which pigeons were used to spot orange life vests at sea.

By sensing the Earth’s magnetic field through the use of a magnetic “map” inside their beaks, pigeons are able to return to their home roosts even when released in a new location several thousand miles away. The ancient Egyptians and Romans used pigeons as reliable messengers, Reuters News Service was originally created with a network of message-carrying pigeons, and pigeons have been used to carry messages in times of war.

In World War I, a pigeon named Cher Ami delivered a vital message to the famous “Lost Battalion.” Cher Ami saved nearly 200 human lives but was shot on his way and was blinded and lost a leg on his final flight. In World War II, a pigeon named GI Joe saved at least 1,000 allied soldiers’ lives by making it back to camp in the nick of time carrying a message that allied troops had just occupied a city about to be bombed. He was awarded the Dickin Medal for gallantry by the Lord Mayor of London.

"Cher Ami" was a registered Black Check Cock carrier pigeon, one of 600 birds owned and flown by the U.S. Army Signal Corps in France during World War I.

He delivered 12 important messages within the American sector at Verdun, France. On his last mission, "Cher Ami," shot through the breast by enemy fire, managed to return to his loft. A message capsule was found dangling from the ligaments of one of his legs that also had been shattered by enemy fire. The message he carried was from Major Whittlesey's "Lost Battalion" of the 77th Infantry Division that had been isolated from other American forces.

Just a few hours after the message was received, 194 survivors of the battalion were safe behind American lines .

"Cher Ami" was awarded the French "Croix de Guerre" with Palm for his heroic service between the forts of Verdun. He died in 1919 as a result of his battle wounds. "Cher Ami" was later inducted into the Racing Pigeon Hall of Fame in 1931 and received a gold medal from the Organized Bodies of American Racing Pigeon Fanciers in recognition of his extraordinary service during World War I.

"Cher Ami" is on display at the National Museum of American History, Behring Center, in the exhibition "The Price of Freedom: Americans At War."

Prepared by the Armed Forces History Collectionsin cooperation with the Public Inquiry Mail Service 12/01

Pigeons are beloved in books and film and have been featured in many movies, including the Michael Landon film Where Pigeons Go to Die and the Charlton Heston film The Pigeon That Took Rome. The 2005 Valiant tells the story of a pigeon hero in the Royal Air Force.

Humans have long recognized the likable qualities of pigeons and have made pigeons a large part of their lives. Such “pigeon fanciers” include Queen Elizabeth II, George Foreman, Mike Tyson, Yul Brynner, Marlon Brando, Tony Curtis, Elvis Presley, Charles Darwin, Walt Disney, Claude Monet, and Pablo Picasso.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Paris Installs Pigeon Lofts to Control Their Population

Paris Installs Pigeon Lofts to Control Their Population
By Gregory Viscusi

Jan. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Paris is installing pigeon lofts throughout the city in its latest attempt to control the population of the birds that leave their droppings on the French capital's monuments.
City authorities aim to encourage pigeons to nest in these lofts and then sterilize their eggs while the birds are out feeding.

The first of the 20,000-euro ($29,000) pigeon houses was installed yesterday in a garden in the working class 20th arrondissement on the city's eastern edge. At least 20 lofts will be installed in city parks, where most of Paris's estimated 80,000 pigeons gather lured by locals who feed them, said Yves Contassot, the deputy mayor for environmental affairs.

``We don't want to eliminate pigeons from the city, just to control their population,'' Contassot said in an interview at the base of one of the new five meter (16 feet) tall constructions. ``They cause a lot of damage to buildings and monuments.''

Paris's efforts mirror similar attempts being made in cities across the globe. Venice, New York and London have instituted bans on feeding pigeons in areas where they congregate.

In New York, City Councilman Simcha Felder on Nov. 12 proposed a $1,000 fine for feeding the winged creatures. Across the Atlantic, where London Mayor Ken Livingstone labeled them ``flying rats,'' feeding the birds in Trafalgar Square can bring a 50 pound ($98) fine.

Other Efforts
Los Angeles has begun a trial use of pigeon birth control. In Basel, Switzerland, pigeon populations have been reduced by an approach that includes stealing their eggs and replacing them with fakes, fooling the birds into thinking they have reproduced. Other cities have used hawks to scare pigeons from their perches.

In the 1980s, Paris used nets to trap and kill pigeons, leading to protests from animal rights groups. Poisons are ineffective against pigeons, Contassot said.

The new Paris pigeon houses, made of galvanized steel and green-painted wood, sit two meters off the ground. Up to 200 pigeon couples can nest at a time.

Employees of Srep, a pest control company based in suburban Paris, will enter each pigeon house at least once a week when the birds are out feeding, and will sterilize all but one of each couple's eggs. A vigorous shake is enough to kill the embryo, Contassot said. The eggs will be put back in place so as not to alert the mother.

An experimental project in a Paris park since 2003 prevented the birth of 5,000 pigeons, Contassot said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gregory Viscusi in Paris at Last

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

New York City Considers Designated Feeding Areas for Pigeons

“Safe pigeon-feeding zones” may be designated around the city as part of the negotiations between animal rights groups and the Brooklyn city councilman who has proposed fining pigeon feeders as much as $1,000 as strategy to control New York’s pigeon population.

Fines, which had been used successfully in Basel, Switzerland, to limit pigeon proliferation, were the most concrete proposal in a pigeon report issued by Councilman Simcha Felder’s office in November. Other ideas in the report included pigeon birth control and a pigeon czar.

But the report and the proposed fines brought out a number of pigeon proponents who defended the urban birds’ rights to co-exist with humans in New York’s sprawl. Since November, Mr. Felder’s office has been meeting with a number of groups over the fine-for-feeding legislation. In December, at one of those meetings, the Humane Society brought up the idea of safe pigeon-feeding zones with Mr. Felder’s office.

“If our idea was, there are too many pigeons around where people are walking, waiting for the subway, sitting in parks, etc.,” said Eric Kuo, a spokesman for Mr. Felder. “Someone brought up, if there are areas where people are not around, what’s the harm of allowing feeding there?”

The pigeon-friendly zones could include less-densely trafficked areas in Central Park and Prospect Park, Mr. Kuo said. The City Council’s lawyers who draft legislation have been asked to see if such a plan is feasible.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Councilman Simcha Felder Tackle New York's Pigeon Issues

Take note of the date -- but this may be a viable solution.

Nov 13, 2007 10:49 AM
Nachum hosted Councilman Felder on JM in the AM to discuss the outlawing of feeding New York pigeons.

Nachum spoke with the Hon. New York City Councilman Simcha Felder on JM in the AM this morning to discuss the councilman's latest legislative actions: outlawing pigeon feeding in NY.

He is hoping to redirect where the pigeons congregate by designating certain areas for pigeon feeding and outlawing it everywhere else.

Other interviews with the Councilman:

Source: Nachum's News (

Monday, January 7, 2008

New York City Officials Moving on Pigeon Poaching

Crackdown on Bird Poaching

New York Post
January 6, 2008

NET WORTH: Swarms of pigeons — even these pests being fed at Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens — can mean cash to an unscrupulous few. Some rustlers sell the fowl for $10 each to legal, out-of-state pigeon shoots, the city Health Department says.

According to city Health Department Commissioner Thomas Frieden, several city and state agencies have recently joined forces to combat "pigeon netting," the underground act of snatching pigeons off the streets and selling them for $5 and $10 each, mostly to legal, out-of-state pigeon shoots.

According to bird advocates, men armed with large nets drive around the city - particularly in the early-morning hours, when birds are hungry - and place seed on the ground to attract pigeons. When the birds come to eat, the men throw nets over them, place them in trucks, and drive off.

"It happens incredibly fast," said one advocate. "This is a solid operation. There are usually groups of guys, and they use several cars with switched license plates. They get $5 a bird to ship them off to pigeon shoots, particularly in Pennsylvania. It's cruel, it's wrong, and it's happening right under our noses and no one's doing anything about it."

Anna Dove of the New York Bird Club, who complained of the bird-napping to Queens City Councilman Tony Avella, said she's battled the problem for 10 years.

"We don't know how big it is, but I think it's big business," she said. "Transporting birds over state lines is illegal. They're not allowed to remove them from their habitat unless they have a permit."

Other advocates said pigeon-nappers also sell to restaurants, although they couldn't provide any evidence.

"We've followed the netters to a warehouse in Queens that sells poultry," said one advocate, who also didn't want to be named. "We're still trying to pull together evidence.

"This is not a joke. A lot of people think, 'Oh, pigeons, what's the big deal?' But it is a big deal. These are wild birds, and they're being stolen right off the street. It's not right."
Avella contacted Frieden's office after receiving Dove's shocking complaint.

"I was quite surprised," he said of the pigeon-poaching phenomenon. "The city's already moving on this. I think their response proves their level of seriousness."

Health Commissioner Frieden, in a Dec. 14 letter to Avella, said his agency, along with "the Department of Environmental Protection, the Police Department [and] the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation . . . are coordinating our resources in an attempt to address this illegal activity."

He added: "At this time, any citizen observing the illegal netting of pigeons can report details of this act by dialing 311."

NYC not getting safer for birds

Published: Jan. 6, 2008 at 6:44 PM

NEW YORK, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- New York City officials are cracking down on poachers trapping pigeons for sale to out-of-state bird hunters and possibly even restaurants.

Bird lovers say the bird-nappers drive through the city in the early morning, tempting birds with seed and then trapping them in large nets, the New York Post reported Sunday. Then they are sold for $5 or $10. Animal advocates gained the ear of City Councilman Tony Avella, who passed their complaint along to the city, the Post said.

In response, Health Department Commissioner Thomas Frieden said he is starting a coordinated effort with other city and state agencies to combat the practice.Concerned citizens who witness pigeon harvesting can inform authorities by calling the city's 3-1-1 citizen access hotline.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Auction Recalls War Hero Pigeons

Auction recalls wartime pigeons
The Associated Press

They were a secret airborne force who worked undercover during World War II. Those who were discovered were shot — or eaten by falcons.

A London auction this month has revived memories of the war's animal heroes, including pigeons who flew dangerous missions to bring messages from behind enemy lines.
Several pigeon portraits from the collection of a wartime bird-breeder are included in the "Gentleman's Library" sale, an eclectic array of items being offered at Bonhams auction house Jan. 15.

The paintings are owned by Jack Lovell, a pigeon breeder who was approached by British intelligence services in 1939 to provide birds for covert operations. The avian unit, overseen by military intelligence, was housed in secret pigeon lofts in the coastal city of Dover.

Pigeons' homing instinct make them excellent messengers, and more than 200,000 served with British forces during the war. Thousands were placed in containers fitted with parachutes and dropped by British bombers behind enemy lines, where they were picked up by Resistance fighters or sympathetic locals and used to send messages back to England.

Others worked as double agents, fitted with tags identical to those worn by Nazi-owned pigeons in the hope they would be given coded messages which they could bring to British code-breaking headquarters at Bletchley Park, near London.

"When it came to the D-Day landings a lot of soldiers were sent off with a pigeon which they kept under their coats, because there was complete radio silence," Bonhams spokeswoman Charlotte Wood said Friday. Those who survived brought back intelligence about German gun positions on the Normandy beaches.

It was dangerous work. The Germans deployed falcons to pick off the British birds. Domestic predators were also a threat.

Thirty-two pigeons were awarded the Dickin medal, Britain's highest award for animal valor. They include an American bird named GI Joe, credited with flying 20 miles in 20 minutes with a message that stopped U.S. planes bombing an Italian town occupied by British troops.
The portraits at Bonhams, painted in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, depict champion racing pigeons owned by Jule Janssen, a Belgian breeder whose birds were the ancestors of Lovell's wartime flock. They are estimated to sell for between $600 and $1,400 each.

The sale also includes a silver candlestick inscribed to Jet, a German shepherd awarded the Dickin medal for finding survivors in the rubble of bombed London buildings.

Bonhams said the auction features "a wide range of typical accessories for a gentleman's library," including furniture, bronzes, busts, lamps, walking canes and humidors.

Other items set to go under the hammer: a tiger skin rug with mounted head; a Boy Scout hat once owned by the movement's founder, Robert Baden-Powell; a pair of glass cucumber straighteners and a lock of hair belonging to Catherine Parr, sixth wife of Henry VIII.

Bonhams director Robert Bleasdale said the items were intended to reflect a sense of "comfort, nostalgia, the unusual, fun."

Video: Pigeons in Combat

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Pigeon Investment Fraud

Business Models: Don’t count your Ponzi pigeons until they’re hatched…

Posted on January 2nd, 2008
by Mitch Brisebois

At the last Ottawa BarCamp I gave a presentation on Eyeballs. More specifically, an overview of the various business techniques used by some social net sites to monetize their subscriber base. So far, only the dating sites have generated much profit - and that’s now in decline. (assuming you’re willing to accept dating sites as social net sites!). The mantra for most web2.0 companies still seems to be “Let’s get a billion users, then we’ll figure out how to make money.” This is so wrong. True innovation is getting all the parts right: product and business plan.

The web isn’t the only place you’ll find kooky business plans. Consider Waterloo-Ontario-based Pigeon King International. They buy pigeons from people they sold pigeons to, so that they can sell the pigeons to other people. Confusing? Basically they enlist farmers to become pigeon farmers. The farmers pay PKI $50k-$100k for the privilege. The farmer is then guaranteed that PKI will buy back young pigeons for $8 to $50. Because pigeons are easy to breed, the ROI is quick. The odd thing is that there no actual market for the pigeons. The buy back is only sustainable if more and more farmers sign up.

If the scheme sounds dubious, the Iowa Attorney General thinks so too. Pigeon King insists that their business is not a ponzi scheme. Their response on December 19th to the attorney general was that the future market for pigeon meat (squabs) will boom once avian flu destroys all the world’s chickens. But I’m not seeing any “Squab Fingers” on the pub menu any time soon! That’s just koo koo!

I wonder if there’s a Social Net app for raising virtual pigeons. oh yeah, Facebook.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Accused Pigeon Smugglers Stopped at US-Canadian Border

Accused pigeon smugglers stopped at US-Canadian border
January 01, 2008 07:47 EST
Channel 2 News, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

LEWISTON, N.Y. (AP) -- Two Canadian men have been slapped with $1,000 fines and may face criminal charges after trying to smuggle four pigeons into the U.S. Authorities say the men were stopped at the border crossing in Lewiston, New York, Sunday and had the pigeons in their coat pockets, wrapped and taped from neck to tail.

One man told Customs and Border Protection officers that he's a pigeon collector and was taking the birds to trade or sell to his uncle in the U.S. People bringing in pet birds are required to have them inspected to guard against diseases like bird flu.

The case has been referred to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. And the pigeons are now in the custody of the Agriculture Department.