Pigeons are E-Birds!

You have e-mail, and snail-mail, and sneaker-mail. Well, long before any of these, there was pigeon-mail!

You see us all over, especially in cities. We love to nest high up on buildings or around chimneys—it reminds us of the cliffs to which we are native.

We’re pigeons. You may also know us by the name “dove.” Doves and pigeons are actually the same bird. (Noah’s dove was probably a homing pigeon!) Although we might look plain and drab, our Designer has given us amazing abilities that we’ve been using to help our fellow humans for thousands of years. I want to share some of these with you today in praise of our Creator!

Our homing instinct is one of our most famous and most useful gifts. This instinct allows us to find our way home even when we’ve been taken far, far away and released in a strange place. How do we do it?

A whole lot of amazing attributes come together to allow us to navigate so well. Let me mention just a few of them.

First, our Designer gave us our own built in Global Positioning System! And He gave it to us thousands of years before you people had any instrument that could come close to it! Amazing? Yes, we can actually sense the Earth’s magnetic fields. I can’t tell you how, but we instinctively know north, south, east, west, and all the directions in between. And we don’t require any complicated tracking device to make our Global Positioning System work.

Along with this, we have a spectacular visual memory. We can file away upwards of 300 images and retrieve them for many years.

Another navigational gift is our ability to fly long distances at fast speeds. We’ve been known to fly more than 600 miles per day while averaging around 50 mph. Those of us that have been bred for speed can travel even faster.

But what your scientists have found most incredible about our navigating instincts is that we aren’t migratory. When left to ourselves, we mate for life and stay in a relatively small area. Why did our Designer give us such an elaborate navigational system? Maybe He knew you would need us!

Long ago people discovered our God-given abilities and started to use us to carry important messages. During WWI and WWII, we were able to save countless lives. Pilots and soldiers would carry us a long distance, then release us with critical information to return to the base, and we would do it—every time! Some of us have been decorated with the highest animal awards given by the military of the various nations we’ve assisted.

We also have very good eyesight that allows us not only to see farther than people, but to see ultraviolet light. We’ve also been used on rescue missions, because our sharp eyesight and good memory allow us to spot things like lifejackets at sea, and humans against camouflaging landscapes.

And when we come home from any work or flight, we’re thirsty! One singular trait I might mention: we’re the only bird that doesn’t have to tilt its head back to let a trickle of water drip down its throat. We pigeons can suck up water through our beaks like you suck liquid through a straw.

We are also unique when it comes to raising our chicks. Not only do we lactate, but both Mom and Dad can produce the ‘crop milk’ out of a pouch in their throats to feed our young. Isn’t that unique!

Have you ever wondered why a flock of pigeons will take off in a flurry of feathers for no apparent reason? Maybe we heard something you didn’t. Our Designer gave us excellent hearing. Not only can we hear sounds miles and miles away, but we can also hear super low frequencies. This special ability allows us to detect major events like earthquakes and electrical storms before people can.

O Lord, what a variety of things you have made! In wisdom you have made them all. -Psalm 104:24 NLT

I’ve been told our ‘head bobbing’ behavior is a curiosity. Although we get along quite well with each other, we aren’t just perpetually affirming our mutual agreement. Actually, the appearance that we’re bobbing our heads is an illusion. Seem strange? Imagine walking past a door and seeing something interesting. Your feet keep walking but your head stays behind to continue looking through the door, to give your eyes time to focus and your brain time to comprehend. Then you quickly bring your head forward to realign yourself properly. That’s basically what we’re doing all the time. We use this motion to stabilize the image in our minds, so we can file it away for future retrieval.

We pigeons are pretty amazing. Don’t you agree? Yet we can’t take any credit for our talents or abilities! We only want you to praise our Creator for His amazing and awesome designs.