Pigeons don’t get enough respect. It’s partly their own fault for swarming city parks and pestering people to the point where they get the label “feathered rats.” Here in Cesar Chavez Park, there’s a modest flock of about 16 Rock Pigeons that hang out in the northeast corner. They stick together in the air and on the ground like one big family, which they might well be, genetically speaking.
Truly, the pigeon is the most storied of birds. It’s the oldest domesticated bird, known already in Mesopotamian cuneiform tablets more than 5,000 years ago. It’s a very intelligent bird. From their role in the development of modern evolutionary science to their numerous contributions in wartime and peace, pigeons have been humankind’s best friends on two feet. What has that got them? An ungrateful nation shot and roasted the native Passenger Pigeon to complete extinction. For shame!
Rather than have me go on about it, here are a few of the many possible links to the pigeon story: