Pigeons: The Fascinating Saga of the World's Most Revered and Reviled Bird
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The illustrations are just perfect, really, working efficiently to accurately show particular points of pigeon anatomy and behaviour without losing any of the personality of pigeons, and often adding funny elements. The colours are absolutely gorgeous, and the style is so consistent throughout. So impressed by the visual aspects of this book (including layout and general design). In this short and entertaining read, Mosco writes about pigeons: their relationship to humans, their history, their anatomy and behavior, the various breeds of domesticated pigeons, the sorts of patterns and colors you might spot among feral pigeons, and how to help pigeons (stringfoot, spotting lost pets among feral pigeons, catching an injured pigeon, etc.). The book wraps up with a chapter on the sorts of animals you might begin to spot once you've become comfortable watching pigeons/doves. I chose to read this because of this topic. I have seen pigeons around (who hasn't?!), and if someone recommended I pigeon watch to pass the time, I would not have taken them seriously. The title of this book, therefore, was very intriguing.
To a lot of people they still are of course. Charles Darwin loved them (much of Chapter One of On the Origin of Species is devoted to them), as did Pablo Picasso who not only painted them but named his daughter after them (Paloma, his “little dove”); the Mughal emperor Akbar, Queen Victoria, inventor Nikola Tesla, painters Claude Monet and Henri Matisse, head of the fashion house Maurizio Gucci, Yul Brynner and Walt Disney—pigeon fanciers all. To others though, and only during the last thin sliver of our history, they have suddenly morphed into something very different. Fun, funny, interesting, illuminating book. How much did I like it? Only 50% into the book, I acquired two physical copies to give out for Christmas.My only criticism is that I thought it presented (in)breeding in a very neutral way even when describing certain breeds as literally incapable of feeding their young or flying. I would have liked an explicitly critical approach to some of the more clearly iffy aspects of the selective breeding of sentient animals, but still, based on the general tone and some comments about us having a moral responsibility to treat animals humanely, especially those that exist because of out domestication and breeding, I think the author’s ethics would align with mine there. I’m so used to naturalists being dismissive about or downright hateful of urban wildlife that the author’s tone, enthusiasm and compassion for pigeons was very welcome and refreshing, especially when it’s clearly in no way incompatible with her scientific approach.
Correction: An earlier version of this blog stated that well-fed pigeons made the optimal choice of the pea and milo seed. It should have stated that hungry pigeons made the optimal choice. Somewhat hungry pigeons were more likely to choose only the pea. I came to this book as a pretty big pigeon fan already, so I didn’t personally need further convincing that pigeons are incredible. However, the book was so informative and enthusiastic about pigeons that I am making a commitment to stanning pigeons even more actively. Thanks to the power of the internet it's hard to keep a secret. I am interested in his writing and it doesn't matter if the book says "Old Hand" or " Bishop"
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That being said, if you're not interested in pigeons, you might not find it interesting. Rather, take this as an opportunity to learn something new. Maybe not just about birds, but about yourself.
I will first pay attention to Homing instincts alone, after training out i will do tough single tossing, As I used to do.Here’s the thing about pigeons: if you’re one of those people who hate them and think of them as “flying rats”, well tough, because it’s our own fault. Pigeons aren’t wild animals who have taken to living in our towns, like urban foxes say; they are domesticated animals, like dogs and cows, some of which have escaped, been abandoned or deliberately released. They were domesticated, most likely somewhere in the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East, thousands of years ago and throughout almost all of human history ever since have been liked, valued, admired, at times revered. Alongside the dog and the horse, they have been one of our favourite companions on this planet. Will you like the book random person reading my review? No clue. There's a kind of flippant attitude to the writing, I liked it but others might not. I guess. Possibly. The subject matter is pigeons. Why people should care about them. Why they seem to be all around us. How they are actually out there because of us (we domesticated them, traveled around with them, released them into places they hadn't existed before (like North America)); why would we domesticate them? Why do people (some) not remember this tidbit? How many won military medals (a few, seriously)? True it will dramatically speed up the process, but with time any group of Racers can be bred to be a top Racing family. It just takes a breeder with the patience, and the judgement, and instincts to do it.