Archive for the ‘pigeons’ Category

Taiwan Busts Racing Pigeon Kidnapping Ring

July 14, 2014

Taiwan Busts Racing Pigeon Kidnapping Ring

“Five people have been arrested in northern Taiwan for allegedly kidnapping dozens of racing pigeons for ransom, police said Tuesday. The suspects were accused of setting traps along racing routes to capture the pigeons before demanding up to Tw$10,000 ($333) per bird from their owners in ransom money, the Taipei City police department said.”


Feathered Heroes of D-Day

June 9, 2014

Feathered Heroes of D-Day

On D-Day, June 6, 1944, the Allied forces invading Nazi-occupied Normandy made use of the latest electronic technology. So how did the Allies learn of the invasion’s progress? Carrier pigeon.

Gustav (pigeon ­NPS.42.31066) flew 230 miles across the English Channel from a ship off Normandy to carry home the first D-Day news. Paddy (pigeon number NPS.43.9451), an Irish-born RAF messenger pigeon, flew 230 miles across the Channel in four hours and fifty minutes with updates. Both birds were later awarded the Dinkin Medal for bravery, the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross. 32 birds received the Dinkin, an indication of the importance of these sturdy birds to the war effort. Try and remember that the next time their civilian cousins decorate your car.


Pigeons: Smarter Than You Think

July 13, 2011

Pigeons: Smarter Than You Think

Pigeons are smarter than you think. Feral urban pigeons. Rock Doves, Columbia livia, aka “rats with feathers.”

French pigeons, anyway, les pigeons sauvages française de Paris.


City Birds

April 28, 2011

City Birds

“Birds breeding in city centres, or “urban adapters” … were found to have larger brains relative to their body size.

Previous studies have highlighted the link between larger brains and behavioural innovation in birds and mammals.

Scientists say this new evidence is the first to show that brain size is a key factor for animals’ survival in urban environments.”

— “Adaptable urban birds have bigger brains,” Ella Davies, BBC Earth News


“Human Facial Expression From the Perspective of a Pigeon,” Kara Rogers, Britannica blog


Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

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Pigeon Protectors

August 9, 2008

Pigeon Protectors

Twenty pigeons in San Jose, CA were outfitted with cell phones, GPS, and tiny cameras by Professor Beatriz da Costa and students Cina Hazegh and Kevin Ponto of the University of California at Irvine in 2006. The urban birds reported San Jose air quality readings back to the PigeonBlog. While the event appears to have generated a brief flurry of publicity, there have been no follow-up projects. The Pigeonblog, like many another blog, is dormant. Maybe the birds now text each other and send Tweets on Twitter.


Passing Shots at Wimbledon

June 26, 2008

Passing Shots at Wimbledon

The exquisitely-civilized All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club at Wimbledon has been assessed penalty points in the press for unsporting behavior, to wit: killing pigeons (Rock Doves, Columba livor, “Rats with Feathers”) with gun-toting sharpshooters.

Wimbledon has heretofore controlled pigeon pests with a pair of hungry hawks, but raptors can only eat so much and pigeons breed rapidly. Flying feathered objects and free-falling guano are thought to distract the world-class ladies and gentlemen engaged in the venue’s Grand Slam tennis championships.

Journalist Johan Lindahl says the cooing critters “dive-bomb centre court during the heat of matches” and render the upper-level outdoor restaurant somewhat insanitary. Rather bad form, that.


Fearless, Faithful, and Feathered

December 14, 2007

Fearless, Faithful, Feathered

NotionsCapital has offered consistent coverage of the common or feral pigeon, the Rock Dove (Columba livia). I admit to calling the breed, um, feathered rodents and sort of blaming them for destroying our country’s steel bridges and sports stadiums, and advocating pigeon birth control. I was preparing to describe their role as disease vectors for salmonellosis, psittacosis and pseudo-tuberculosis, and discuss the way they deteriorate priceless buildings and bronze monuments, collide with airplanes, and cost the average city dweller ten bucks a year in clean-up costs.

But that was before yesterday.


Pigeon Birth Control. Wedge Issue?

November 1, 2007

Pigeon Birth Control. Wedge Issue?

New York City Councilman James Oddo (R-Staten Island) has endorsed adopting a California plan mixing birth control drugs with birdseed to control a prolific and pestiferous population of pigeons (columba livia), also know as “Rock Doves” or “Rats with Feathers.”

We know this is important because it is reported by the New York Times, Fox News, and Staten Island Advance.

Is this about City Sanitation or Feathered Family Values?

Where do the presidential candidates stand on this urgent urban issue? City dwellers have a right to know.

Image by Mike Licht, who already knows that those are two male pigeons. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Football: The Inside Poop

October 1, 2007

Feed them and you are helping the terrorists

Urban terrorists strike again. After causing the collapse of the Interstate 35W Bridge in the Minneapolis heartland, they now threaten that cherished symbol of American greatness, the NFL.

Is nothing sacred to these feathered fiends? 

At Paul Brown Stadium, home of the Cincinnati Bengals, they have had enough. Enough pigeon poop falling on fans and in their beverages and snacks. They are ready for the Shotgun Pass, as in “pass me that shotgun.” The Bengals are ready to deal in lead.

There have been protests from Ohio PETA chapters and fans of the rival Cleveland Browns, but hundreds of gun-wielding Bengals fans have volunteered for pigeon patrol.

Bengals officials have not responded to my suggestion that the pigeon hunt be televised live on the Outdoor Channel.

Football, feathers, and firearms. Is this a great country, or what?

 Wanted poster by Mike Licht and his foul-feathered friends.

Bridge Saboteurs Identified

August 24, 2007

Feed ‘em and you aid the terrorists!

The Interstate 35W bridge collapse in Minnesota:  was it sabotage? Experts claim corrosive pigeon guano weakened the metal of the collapsed bridge span, according to an Associated Press report.

Another reason to declare open season on these foul feral feathered fiends.