A Homing pigeon is a special breed of pigeons. These pigeons have been domesticated. They have been selectively bred to find their way home. They can do this over very long distances. The wild rock pigeon from which these birds are bred also has this homing ability. This means that it will generally return to its own nest and its own mate. This made it relatively easy to breed from the birds that repeatedly found their way home over long distances. Flights as long as 1800 kilometers have been recorded by birds in competition pigeon racing. Their average flying speed over moderate distances is around 48 km/h (30 mph),[source?] but even speeds of up to 95 km/h (59 mph) have been observed.
Homing pigeons are called carrier pigeons when they are used to carry messages. This is possible where a message is written on thin light paper (such as cigarette paper) and rolled into a small tube attached to the bird's leg; this is called pigeon post. Pigeons can only go back to one "mentally marked" point that they have identified as their home. So "pigeon mail" can only work when the sender is actually holding the receiver's pigeons. White homing pigeons are used in Release Dove ceremonies at weddings, funerals, and some sporting events.
References[change | change source]
- Levi, Wendell (1977 Pg82). The Pigeon. Sumter, S.C.: Levi Publishing Co, Inc. ISBN 0853900132.
- Blechman, Andrew (2007). Pigeons-The fascinating saga of the world's most revered and reviled bird.. St Lucia, Queensland: University of Queensland Press. ISBN 9780702236419. http://andrewblechman.com/learn_more.html.
- Walcott, Charles. "Pigeon Homing: Observations, Experiments and Confusions" (Pdf article). Journal of Experimental Biology. http://jeb.biologists.org/cgi/reprint/199/1/21.pdf. Retrieved 2008-01-04.
- "The Speed of Birds" (Web article). BBC.Co.UK. http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/animals/birds/weeklyfeature/speedofbirds/. Retrieved 2008-01-04.