People for Pigeons is concerned with the protection and preservation of mankind's oldest domestic bird, the gentle and loyal pigeon. We strive to eliminate pigeon persecution and prejudice and promote their positive portrayal in society. As of 1.20.08 all posts concerned with legislation, restricted feeding areas and pigeon control, will be posted to Pigeon Politics

Monday, May 5, 2008

Pigeons in the Military, Police and Trafficking Service


In the late 19th and early 20th century, homing pigeons were frequently used as message carriers within European battle zones. Equipped with a small message capsule, pigeons would carry messages between troops and allies, alerting people if soldiers were captured behind enemy lines. They would also provide important time sensitive information that couldn't be sent by other means. Pigeons were hard to detect, difficult to shoot down, and fast commuters.

In 1903, German Engineer Julius Neubronner combined a small analogue camera with a mechanical timer and attached it around a pigeon's neck. This innovative approach to aerial photography soon raised interest from the German military. Shortly thereafter, exploring the potential for secret aerial photography carried out by pigeons began in earnest.

By Word War II entire "Pigeon Corps" had been established, serving both the Army and Air Force of several countries including England, Germany, France and the United States. Pigeon fanciers were consulted and encouraged to donate special breeds, and to provide expertise in pigeon handling and training to the military. Collaborations between pigeon fanciers and military personnel started to occur more frequently. In fact, the human pigeon handlers dedicated to the war messaging service became fondly known as the "Pigeoneers" by American forces.

Several decades later during the Vietnam War, the US Military developed a small radio-tracking device for attaching to homing pigeons. The idea was to capture the birds belonging to the Vietkong and follow their flight path home. Knowing the pigeons' destination would help the US find hidden enemy camps. Pigeons have continued to be used in military and other governmental efforts. More recent examples include their alleged use by Iraqi troops during the second gulf war in 1991, and as discussed briefly below, as messengers for the Indian police in the state of Orissa, and to traffic illicit goods across state borders in South Africa, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Mexico and the US.


The state of Orissa in India has used homing pigeons as part of their police service for over sixty years. This remote state used messenger pigeons to send reports throughout the state and to the country's capital during floods and other environmental conditions that cut the region off from other means of communication. The pigeon courier service or "P-mail" was handed to the police by the army in 1946, one year prior to India's independence from England. In 2002 it was decided that the pigeon courier service was too costly for the state and that email would be a more efficient way of communicating in contemporary India.


While homing pigeons have largely been retired from official governmental and military purposes, they are still being used for less official underground activities such as transporting small amounts of precious goods across country borders. In South Africa, pigeons are reportedly used to smuggle diamonds out of the country, in Afghanistan, pigeons assist in sending small portions of heroin over to Pakistan, and in the United States pigeon-enhanced drug trafficking between the US-Mexican border continues to flourish.


According to the International Harold Tribune, pigeons continue to be used in remote parts of Britain and France to carry blood samples from one location to another.

Posted by New York Bird Club at 8:27 AM Links to this post 0 comments  

Labels: homing pigeons, military, pigeons, police, trafficking service Vietnam War, US military

Thursday, May 1, 2008

PETA Offers $2,000 Reward for Information on Blow-gun Shootings of Pigeons in Seattle

Monday, April 28, 2008 - Page updated at 06:02 PM


This pigeon was photographed in downtown Seattle. The bird is still alive because the dart did not hit any of its vital organs.

PETA offers $2,000 reward for information on blow-gun shootings of pigeons in downtown Seattle

By Sonia Krishnan

Seattle Times staff reporter

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals announced today it is offering a $2,000 reward for information on one or more shooters involved in impaling pigeons in downtown Seattle with metal darts.

Several Seattle residents have called PETA in the past two weeks to report seeing three injured pigeons fluttering around with needle-like projectiles -- about three to four inches long -- piercing their heads, said Tori Perry, cruelty case worker for the Norfolk, Virginia-based organization. The birds were spotted on the 1400 block of Third Avenue and at the corner of Third Avenue and Union Street, she added.

The darts were fired from a blow gun, lodging directly behind the birds' eyes without penetrating their brains, Perry said.

The longer the darts remain, the higher the chance for the injury to get worse and infection to set in, she said. The end result: "a very, very painful death," Perry said.

"This is just a horrifying case," she said. "Someone who would do this to an animal is a short step away from doing this to a human being."

Authorities at the Seattle Animal Shelter said they have also gotten several complaints about the darted pigeons. And, they add, it's been difficult to track and capture the birds to get them proper treatment.

"They are quite athletic, good fliers," said Don Baxter, enforcement supervisor. "They're not hanging around waiting for an officer to get close" and take it to a veterinarian, he said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Seattle Animal Shelter at 206-386-7387.

Sonia Krishnan: 206-515-5546 or

Related Article

Posted by New York Bird Club at 10:19 AM Links to this post 0 comments  

Labels: cruelty to wildlife, PETA, pigeons, Seattle

Monday, April 28, 2008

Pigeons are Doting Parents

By Hannah Holmes

Maybe the old ones never die. My Portland flock could be the self-same bunch of birds that filched clams from the Abenaki Indians and pooped upon approaching Viking boats. In addition to adapting flawlessly to the total nature-fake of a human habitat, maybe pigeons have also adapted perfectly to life: It doesn't make them die.

But because that's improbable, and because I was terribly curious about what kind of guy intentionally associates with pigeons, I called John Heppner, president of the National Pigeon Association.

"Absolutely," he said in a sobering tone of voice when I asked if there is such a thing as a baby pigeon. "I've been raising 'em for fifty years." What he went on to tell me gave me a new respect for the grubby, shining, strutting, victorious pigeon.

First of all, unlike dippy little English sparrows or robins, pigeons hide their nests.

Heppner said that back when they emerged in Asia (evidently, they were nature-living animals, once), pigeons were cliff-dwellers. So now they balance their messy nests of sticks inside the guts of bridges, or atop tall buildings, or on top of your air conditioner. Secondly, pigeons are parents non pareil. They lay only two eggs at a time, and spoil those babies shamefully. "The parents will feed the babies until they're totally feathered out," Heppner reported proudly. "By the time they leave the nest, they'll be about the same size as the adults. You know when people eat squab, that's when they take 'em -- when they're nice and plump." Squab, for the culinarily challenged, being baby pigeon.

And the doting parents don't feed these butter-balls your typical bird baby-food.

These birdlets get something called "pigeon milk," and the faint-of-stomach may not wish to explore this paragraph further. Both parents manufacture in their crop, or throat, a rich, fatty "milk" that looks, Heppner says, much like yellow cottage cheese. They ralph this delicacy up and expel it into the throats of their darlings. "You can see this white stuff glowing in the crops of the squabs," Heppner says. "They're just full of it."

After eight or 10 days of this ambrosial diet, the parents begin mixing in solid food and water. "They'll eat heavily, then drink a lot of water to easily chuck up the grain," Heppner enthuses, and offering between these fascinating facts to send me photographs of fancy pigeons. "And did you know pigeons drink like horses? Hens will lift their heads up to swallow. But pigeons put their head down and just take a long draught."

And do the parents flinch at all this work, this cheese-making, this grain-chucking, this drinking-like-a-horse? Of course not. "If all's going along well with the first nest, they'll build another, right near by, and lay the next batch," Heppner says. "They'll take turns sitting on the next set, while the other feeds up the squabs." And they'll do that four to six times a season. So, not only are there baby pigeons, there are baby-pigeon assembly lines.

And when the fledglings do finally leave the nest, Heppner says, their plumage and size are so similar to those of the flock they hang around with that only the practiced pigeonophile would be able to pick out the babies.

Care to practice finding the youngsters? Look for them in the spring and summer.

They may have stray strands of down poking through their feathers.

They may retain a trace of the "lip" around their beak that gives the parents a wider ralphing target.

Their heads may be narrower.

They may be shy. "They're more timid," Heppner explains. "They won't be professional in going after the best food."

So if you really want to see a baby pigeon, throw down a fried clam. That'll separate the men from the boys.

Posted by New York Bird Club at 11:27 AM Links to this post 0 comments  

Labels: pigeons, squabs


Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Pigeons and Cheers for Pope Benedict XV1

Cheers and pageantry for papal mass at Yankee Stadium

Karin Zeitvogel

Agence France-Presse


April 21, 2008

NEW YORK -- Tens of thousands of Americans erupted in cheers Sunday, waving white and yellow handkerchiefs as they welcomed Pope Benedict XVI to Yankee Stadium for the final event of his US visit -- a huge outdoor mass.

"Most Holy Father, welcome to New York," New York's archbishop, Cardinal Edward Egan, said from the purple, white and yellow platform dominated by the Vatican coat of arms set up on the baseball diamond, drawing a deafening roar from the crowd.

The pope rose from the white papal chair decorated with a golden cross at the top of the platform, and raised both hands to salute the crowd.

White-robed Roman Catholic clerics sat alongside a rainbow of baseball caps; Asians and Hispanics prayed next to African-Americans and white descendants of European immigrants in the stadium, which had been converted from a shrine to baseball to an open-air church for the mass celebrated by Benedict.

"In this land of freedom and opportunity, the Church has united a widely diverse flock in the profession of the faith," Benedict said in his homily, as sunshine cut through the layer of cloud that had blanketed New York since the morning.

The prayer of the faithful after the homily underscored the ethnic diversity so lauded by the pontiff as it was intoned in English, Italian, Polish, French, Croatian, Tagalog, the language of the overwhelmingly Catholic Philippines, and Igbo, a Nigerian dialect.

Benedict praised the United States as a land of religious liberty, and urged US Catholics to overcome differences and build on the foundation of the church left by their forebears, many of them "immigrants whose traditions have so enriched the Church in America."

"Today's celebration is ... a summons to move forward with firm resolve to use wisely the blessings of freedom, in order to build a future of hope for coming generations."

The rapt audience of more than 57,000 interrupted the homily to applaud as the pope urged them to defend all life, "including the most defenseless of all human beings, the unborn child in the mother's womb."

The 81-year-old pontiff made no mention in his homily of the sex scandal that has rocked the US church, a subject he repeatedly raised during his US visit, urging priests and their flocks to help heal the wounds.

But outside the stadium, a handful of protesters were not letting the issue to be swept under the carpet.

They held up signs denouncing the church and the scandal of predator priests: "Roman Catholicism is the devil" read one sign, while another screamed out "Priests rape boys."

Secret Service agents, who had thrown a thick cloak of security over the stadium, were met by little more than calls of "Viva il papa" as they scrutinized the stadium bleachers during the homily.

New York City policemen on security detail folded their hands and bowed their heads as the pope gave his blessing.

After deacons and priests had served communion, Italian tenor Marcello Giordani sang a stirring "Panis Angelicus," struggling to turn the pages to hold the libretto as the wind picked up.

Earlier, nuns had clapped to the music as singer-guitarist Jose Feliciano belted out "Lean on Me" from the white, purple and yellow platform as part of the spiritual warmup for the mass.

A Mexican wave -- when row after row stand up and raise their arms in the air -- unfurled through the upper seating level, with Roman Catholic clerics joining in as readily as lay people.

*A flock of doves was released and soared skyward shortly before the pope arrived at the stadium in his popemobile, its windows open to allow him to wave at the crowd.

Benedict is the third pope to celebrate Mass at Yankee Stadium, after Paul VI in 1965 and John Paul II in 1979.

As the mass ended, a radiant Benedict waved at the crowd as Ludwig van Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" echoed around the stadium and yellow and white handkerchiefs waved anew.

The mass was the last event on Benedict's six-day visit to the United States, which took him to Washington before New York.

*"I own a "white dove release" business. I have 15 "doves", white pigeons, all have names and birthdays, all love me and fly to me at will. True doves do not have the homing instinct."

Judy Miller

Armore Doves



Posted by New York Bird Club at 4:00 PM Links to this post 1 comments  

Labels: homing pigeons, papal mass, Pope Benedict XV1


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National Pigeon Day - June 13th

Used with permission from

America's Sexiest Bird - the Pigeon





To turn in pigeon netters (state of New York), please call the DEC at 800-847-7332 or (718) 482-4885, email:


Individuals with information may call the toll-free live pigeon shoot tip line at 1-800-637-4124.


For centuries domestic pigeons were revered, until the 1960's and 70's when there was a concerted effort and false campaign employed by the pest control industry so that they could be exterminated, thereby creating a billion dollar industry.


Science now tells us that the pigeon has been found to be able to remember hundreds of faces and are equal to higher order animals, such as dolphins and porpoises in their cognitive abilities.

Pigeons in the City - Documentary


Pigeon Discussions

National Pigeon Day

Pigeon Stamps

All About Birds: Rock Pigeon

Amazing Pigeon Facts

Cornell University Pigeon Watching

Pigeon Pages

Prof. Dr. Daniel Haag-Wackernagel

The Value of Pigeons



Pennsylvania - Home to the "City of Brotherly Love"


Pigeon Shoots are Pennsylvania's Shame


Pigeon rests on a pine at Pikeville Gun Club in Pennsylvania waiting to be shot.


Contact PA government (scroll down)

Cruel Pigeon Shoots in Pennsylvania


The Humane Society of the United States Pigeon Shoots


The Orange Ribbon for Animals


Project Pigeon Watch

The Pigeon Club

Save the Trafalgar Square Pigeons

The Humane Society of the United States

In Defense of Animals

All Creatures

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Chris Petrak


Animal Liberation Front

Compassionate Action Institute

Animal Aid

Urban Dove: The Pigeon Registry

Happy LOL Day

Pale Male Irregulars

Lizard Marsh

Don Jenner

Animal Rights

Shadowed Flower

Smithsonian National Zoological Park

Animal Legal Defense Fund

Bird House

European Vegetarian & Animal News Alliance

Yay Pigeons

Bird Web

Rincon Animal

Pigeon Blog


Nature's Corner

Animal Concerns

New York Tails

Humane Society of Berks County

Pale Male (scroll down for lovely pigeons)

The United Federation of Teachers

Best Friends Network

Eufraites Del Valle

Eye on the Hamptons

Colin Jerolmack

Berkshire Bird Paradise Sanctuary

Mobilization for Animals

Ocean and Forest Walks

Pigeons and Doves of the World

Wildlife Rehabilitators

Best Friends Network

Pigeon Blog


Pigeon Paraphernalia:

CafePress - I Love Pigeons


Pigeon Club T Shirts & Other Items

Sesame Street - I Love Pigeons

Pigeons in Combat - Sweatshirts, T Shirts, Video

PigeOn Presents

Cafe Press - Pray for Pigeons

Pigeon Art:

The Pigeon Professor


''The Flight", a short film written, directed and produced by Al Croseri, is an homage to the bravery of homing pigeons who saved thousands of lives in combat in the Great World Wars. Their achievements embodied the attributes of service, endurance, loyalty and supreme courage. Here, their memory is evoked by two present-day homing pigeons silently taking flight from the windows of a New York City apartment. The film dissolves to a forgotten past as we relive their ancestors' selfless heroism.


Clive D.L. Wynne

A Pigeon and a Boy was the winner of the 2007 National Jewish Book Award for Fiction.

During the 1948 War of Independence--a time when pigeons are still used to deliver battlefield messages--a gifted young pigeon handler is mortally wounded. In the moments before his death, he dispatches one last pigeon. The bird is carrying his extraordinary gift to the girl he has loved since adolescence.. . .


Reflections of an accidental pigeon fancier

 In Memorial -

Joseph Zeman - 12/18/2007

(The Pigeon Man of Lincoln Square, Chicago)

Those interested in a "Pigeon Man" memorial can reach Kitchen at . Kitchen has also started a "Remember the Bird Man" group on Facebook.


Blog Archive

? 2008 (32)

? May (2)

Pigeons in the Military, Police and Trafficking Se...

PETA Offers $2,000 Reward for Information on Blow-...

? April (5)

Pigeons are Doting Parents

Pigeons and Cheers for Pope Benedict XV1

The Gowanus Lounge: You Think You've Got It Bad? P...

Army Retires Carrier Pigeons

To Rescue or Kidnap?

? March (6)

Reduce Pigeon Numbers by Feeding?

New York Daily News Article: National Pigeon Day

Department of Conservation Replies to Pigeon Netti...

Pigeon Shoots No Better than Cockfighting or Dogfi...

Family Files Suit Alleging Exposure to Pigeon Pois...

Heinous Acts of Cruelty in Pennsylvania

? February (7)

Pigeon Genius: Brilliant Beasts - National Geogra...

Harvard Psychologist Dr. B.F. Skinner, Ph.D. Studi...

Dear Woody Allen,

The Gowanus Lounge: Is a Park Slope Pigeon Serial ...

Recruit Woody Allen for National Pigeon Day!

New York City Parks Department Worker Accused of K...

Pigeon Control is a License to Print Money

? January (12)

National Pigeon Day - June 13th

WNYC New York Public Radio on Pigeons

If you Love Pigeons, You are in Good Company

Paris Installs Pigeon Lofts to Control Their Popul...

New York City Considers Designated Feeding Areas f...

Nachum and Councilman Simcha Felder Tackle New Yor...

New York City Officials Moving on Pigeon Poaching

Auction Recalls War Hero Pigeons

Abandoned Monkey Finds Love with Pigeon

Councilman Felder's New T-Shirt - "I Love Pigeons"...

Pigeon Investment Fraud

Accused Pigeon Smugglers Stopped at US-Canadian Bo...

? 2007 (25)

? December (17)

Painful Avitrol Used to Control Pigeons in Worcest...

Pigeon Birth Control

Commissioner Thomas R. Frieden Responds to Pigeon ...

Pigeon War - Not Over by Christmas (London, Englan...

PICAS International To Cease Working with PeTA

We Didn't Mean For You to Find Out We Kill Birds (...

Commentary: Pigeons, People & Perceptions

Pigeon-Ban Pusher Addresses Community Board 12 Mee...

Owl Howls Scare Pigeons on Parkway

Joseph Zeman Killed by Negligent Driver (Memorial ...

War-HERO Pigeon Paddy is Remembered

Pigeon Feeding Ban in Other Areas

Tests Show Pigeons Are Starving (London, England)

Rewards Offered for Apprehension of Pigeon Netters...

Despite Bad Rap Pennsylvania Pigeon Shoots Go On

Unlawful Pigeon Nettings Continue as New York City...

Rally & Press Conference - November 30, 2007

? November (8)

Open Letter to Councilman Simcha Felder 

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