Pictured here is a feral pigeon overlooking his/her kingdom with his/her 340 degree field of vision. City dwellers know quite well the concept of survival of the fittest. “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere,” the saying goes.
I’ve recently learned that pigeons, domesticated pigeons, played a large part in Charles Darwin’s life, selecting them to study “after some deliberation.” As written in chapter one of The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, “I have kept every breed which I could purchase or obtain . . .from several quarters of the world, more especially by the Hon. W. Elliot from India, and by the Hon. C. Murray from Persia. . . .I have associated with several eminent fanciers, and have been permitted to join two of the London Pigeon Clubs. The diversity of the breeds is something astonishing.”
He adds that over the centuries “pigeons have been watched and tended with the utmost care, and loved by many people. They have been domesticated for thousands of years in several quarters of the world; the earliest known record of pigeons is in the fifth Aegyptian dynasty, about 3000 B.C., as was pointed out to me by Professor Lepsius; but Mr. Birch informs me that pigeons are given in a bill of fare in the previous dynasty.’”
Darwin goes on to summarize that pigeons in the time of the Romans were highly valued, and much valued by Akber Khan in India, and “never less than 20,000 pigeons were taken with the court.”
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Pigeon photo source: ZeroOne via Wikimedia Commons
Nancy R. Peck