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Ancestors from Rock

Doves - Homing and

Carrier Pigeons


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A Homing Pigeon refers to any pigeon with the ability to fly, or
home in on, a certain location. Homing pigeons are descended from
Rock Doves.

Homing pigeons have been selectively bred to be able to find
their way home over extremely long distances. Despite breeding,
pigeons already have the innate ability to return to their
home nest or mate.

Along with breeding, homing pigeons are trained to return home
to their loft. Training usually begins at an early age, often
when the pigeons are only 2 months old. They are released a short
distance from the loft to begin with, then as the pigeon learns
to return home, it is released at ever increasing distances.

Carrier Pigeons are pigeons that are used to carry a message
from one place to another.

Carrier pigeons were used by the U.S. military during World War
I, World War II and the Korean War.

Homing Pigeons are a slate blue color. The necks and wings of
these birds often have iridescent shades of yellow, purple, and green.
Usually, male Homing Pigeons have more of this iridescent
coloration than females. Most Homing Pigeons have a dark gray
blue line across their tails, and two dark bars over their wings.
They also have grayish pink bills.

Homing Pigeons can be recognized by their walk, during which they
bob their heads.

They nest in crevices or buildings, usually in rock cliffs,
barns, or buildings.

Homing Pigeons normally mate for life. Both parents raise the

How do Pigeons know how to Return Home?

While no one knows for absolute certainty how homing pigeons
are able to find their home, there are several very good possible
reasons, but more than likely there is a combination of things
that homing pigeons use in helping them navigate.

Homing pigeons are born with an innate ability to fly home.
They also receive expert training.

It is believed that several other factors are used by the pigeons
to find their way home, including the earth's magnetic fields
that they use for orientation.

The mineral magnetite has been found in the beaks of pigeons
and some scientists say that this mineral is used as a type of
bird compass. Other animals are also thought to navigate using
magnetite especially whales, sharks, tuna, trout, and sea

Pigeons are also extraordinarily sensitive to low frequency
sounds, which travel very long distances. Some researchers think
these low frequency sounds are among the tools that homing pigeons use.

Some believe that homing pigeons take advantage of landmarks,
positions of the sun and stars, and even following roads.

Others feel that the nature migratory instincts of birds play a role.

And some think that the bird's sense of smell is a factor.

However, not all homing pigeons ever return to their loft when
set free from long distances. Again, reasons may vary including:
interference from cell phone towers, different magnetic fields of
the earth, storms, sunspots interfering with the magnetic fields
of the earth, the bird may become sick or injured and die, and who
knows, maybe the pigeon found a better mate along the way
and decided to stay with them.....

Picture Pigeon

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See Also:

Index of North American Birds

Pigeons & Doves

Adorable Stuffed Plush Birds

Perfect Pigeon Calendars


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