National Pigeon Day

A picture of a smiling child holding a pigeon, wearing a colorful hat, in a park with lush green trees..
National pigeon day illustration

Welcome to the wacky world of National Pigeon Day! Get ready to spread your wings and soar through the sky of pigeon-related fun and facts. Whether you're a bird enthusiast or simply curious about our feathery friends, National Pigeon Day is here to add a touch of whimsy to your day.

When is Pigeon Day?

It's national pigeon day on the 13th June.

The Fascinating Internet History of National Pigeon Day

Every year on June 13th, bird lovers and pigeon enthusiasts come together to celebrate National Pigeon Day. While pigeons may seem like ordinary birds that lurk around parks and city squares, their history and internet fame are far from ordinary.

Believe it or not, the internet has played a significant role in catapulting pigeons into the collective consciousness of people around the world. In the early days of the internet, a pigeon-related viral video took flight and captured the hearts (and the clicks) of netizens everywhere.

The video, titled 'Pigeon with Attitude,' featured a feisty pigeon strutting its stuff on the streets of New York City. With its confident swagger and undeniable charm, the video became an overnight sensation and paved the way for a slew of pigeon-related internet content.

Soon, social media platforms were abuzz with hashtags like #PigeonGoals and #PigeonLife, creating a virtual pigeon-loving community. Memes, gifs, and even dedicated pigeon appreciation accounts began to surface, solidifying pigeons as internet stars in their own right.

The Pigeon Parade

To honor the internet's impact on pigeon popularity, National Pigeon Day festivities include a Pigeon Parade. Pigeon enthusiasts clad in bird-themed costumes flock to the streets, showcasing their love for these notoriously charismatic creatures.

The Pigeon Parade features various floats adorned with pigeon-inspired decorations, as well as marching bands playing melodious tunes. Spectators line the streets, armed with birdseed and binoculars, to witness the awe-inspiring spectacle.

The parade culminates in a grand finale where the most exquisitely dressed pigeons, sporting tiny feathered hats and bejeweled necklaces, take the stage in a talent show. From aerial acrobatics to impressive cooing performances, these pigeons showcase their skills and leave the audience in awe.

Spread Your Wings and Celebrate

Whether you're planning on attending the Pigeon Parade or simply want to embrace the spirit of National Pigeon Day, there are plenty of ways to celebrate these fantastic feathery friends. Here are a few ideas:

  • Host a pigeon-themed picnic in the park, complete with pigeon-shaped cookies and birdseed sandwiches.
  • Get creative with pigeon-inspired arts and crafts. Paint a pigeon portrait or make your own pigeon-shaped pinata.
  • Organize a neighborhood pigeon-spotting competition. See who can spot the most pigeon breeds in a day.

Remember, National Pigeon Day is all about spreading joy and appreciating these resilient and often underestimated birds. So, let your wings unfurl and embrace the whimsical world of pigeons!

History behind the term 'Pigeon'

3000 BC

Ancient Mesopotamia: The Dawn of Domestication

In the ancient city of Ur, Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq), pigeons were first domesticated for their meat and for religious purposes. The Sumerians raised pigeons in vast numbers and considered them sacred birds. They believed that pigeons were messengers between the earthly world and the gods.

5th century BC

Origins in Ancient Mesopotamia

The term 'pigeon' originates from the Latin word 'pipio' and the Old English word 'pygyan', both of which mean young bird. However, the history of the term can be traced back even further to ancient Mesopotamia, where clay tablets dating back to the 5th century BC depict pigeons being domesticated for both their meat and their feces, which was used as a valuable fertilizer.

3000 BC

Early domestication and symbolism

In ancient Mesopotamia, pigeons were one of the first birds to be domesticated. They were valued for their ability to deliver messages over long distances, their gentle nature, and their stunning appearance. Pigeons were often seen as symbols of peace, love, and fertility in various cultures.

3000 BC

Ancient Mesopotamia: The First Domestication

Pigeon domestication originated in ancient Mesopotamia around 3000 BC. The Sumerians, who inhabited this region, were the first to actively breed pigeons. They selectively bred pigeons to develop different colors, patterns, and sizes, which laid the foundation for various pigeon breeds we see today.

2600 BCE

Early Mesopotamian Documentation

The term 'pigeon' can be traced back to ancient Mesopotamia, where clay tablets from around 2600 BCE have been discovered. These tablets contain cuneiform inscriptions that mention domesticated varieties of pigeons, highlighting the early recognition and utilization of these birds by humans.

5000 BCE

Domestication of Pigeons

Pigeons have been known to humans since ancient times. The first step in the history of the term 'pigeon' dates back to around 5000 BCE when humans began domesticating pigeons for various purposes. Ancient Egyptians were among the first to recognize the value of pigeons and kept them for their meat, their ability to carry messages, and also as symbols of divine spirits.

3rd century BC

Pigeons in Ancient Greece

During the Hellenistic period in ancient Greece, pigeons were highly regarded for their ability to deliver important messages over long distances. Known as 'homing pigeons,' they were used by various military powers, including the Greeks, to communicate vital information during times of war. This early form of communication played a significant role in shaping the concept of pigeons as messengers.

5th Century BCE

Introduction to Greece

Pigeons make their way to Greece, captured during military campaigns in Persia. The Greek term 'pijon' emerges from this period, indicating the bird's growing presence and importance in Greek culture. Pigeons were highly regarded for their ability to carry messages over long distances.

12th Century CE

Origins of the Word 'Pigeon'

The term 'pigeon' itself has an interesting origin. It comes from the Latin word 'pipio' or 'pipionem,' which means 'chirping bird' or 'young bird.' This Latin term later transformed into the Old French word 'pijon,' which eventually gave rise to the modern English word 'pigeon.' The word 'pigeon' became widely adopted to represent these bird species.

500 BC

Role in ancient civilizations

Pigeons played a significant role in various ancient civilizations, including the Persians, Egyptians, and Romans. They were used as messengers during wars and conquests, carrying important messages across vast empires. The Romans even had a dedicated system called 'Columbarium' or 'Dovecote' to house pigeons for messaging purposes.

1100 BC

Ancient Egypt: Symbol of Divinity

Pigeons gained a significant cultural symbol status in ancient Egypt around 1100 BC. They were associated with religious importance and were considered sacred animals. The Egyptians believed that pigeons carried messages between humans and their gods, making them a symbol of divinity.

2500 BC

Ancient Egypt: Symbol of Divinity

Pigeons continued to hold religious significance in Ancient Egypt. They were associated with the goddesses Hathor and Isis, representing love, motherhood, and fertility. Egyptians believed that pigeons carried the souls of the deceased to the afterlife, and as such, they were often depicted in funerary art.

480 BC

Ancient Greece: Celebrated Messengers

The ancient Greeks recognized the remarkable homing ability of pigeons and started using them as messengers during warfare. The most notable example is the Battle of Plataea, where the Greeks sent messages using pigeons to coordinate their military strategies.

12th Century

Pigeonry in Europe

During the Middle Ages, pigeon breeding specifically for sport and practical purposes becomes evident in Europe. 'Pigeonry' becomes a common term used to describe the act of raising and breeding pigeons. Pigeonry societies and clubs begin to form, emphasizing the fascination and passion for these birds.

500 BC

Ancient Greece: Olympic Messengers

During the ancient Greek civilization around 500 BC, pigeons became the primary messengers in the Olympic Games. Trained pigeons were used to carry results from the various Greek city-states to the Olympic judges. This usage showcased the speed and reliability of pigeons for communication.

17th Century CE

Pigeon Racing Emerges

In the 17th century, pigeon racing gained popularity as a recreational activity among European nobility. It involved releasing pigeons from a specific location and timing how fast they returned to their home lofts. Pigeons became highly valued for their navigation skills and speed, further solidifying their place in human history.

1150 AD

Pigeons in Medieval Europe

Pigeons continued to play a prominent role in various civilizations, including Medieval Europe. During this time, pigeon breeding and keeping became a popular pastime among European nobility. Pigeon lofts were built to house these birds, and competitions were held to showcase the most impressive pigeons. This marked the beginning of pigeons being appreciated for their aesthetic qualities and unique characteristics, beyond their utilitarian purposes.

12th Century AD

Royal sport of pigeon racing

Pigeon racing emerged as a popular sport among European nobility during the 12th century. The birds were bred for their exceptional homing instincts and speed, leading to the development of various pigeon breeds known for their racing capabilities. Pigeon racing became a favorite pastime among kings and royalty, who organized competitions and wagered on the fastest birds.

19th century

The Rise of Pigeon Racing

In the 19th century, pigeon racing emerged as a popular sport in Europe and later gained traction in other parts of the world. Competitors would release their trained pigeons from a specific location, and the fastest returning pigeon would be declared the winner. Pigeon racing not only became a test of the birds' speed and navigational abilities but also fostered a sense of community and camaraderie among enthusiasts.

19th Century

Pigeon post as a reliable mail system

Pigeon post, also known as carrier pigeon service, gained prominence as a reliable mail system during the 19th century. In countries like France and Belgium, pigeons were trained to carry messages across long distances, surpassing the limitations of traditional postal systems. Remarkably, during the Siege of Paris in 1870, carrier pigeons were instrumental in maintaining communication lines between the besieged city and the outside world.


Scientific Classification

In 1680, John Ray, an English naturalist, coins the term 'Columba livia' as the scientific name for the rock pigeon, a familiar species known for its close association with humans. This scientific classification solidified the pigeon's place in the field of biology and taxonomy.

1150 AD

Medieval Europe: Pigeon Towers

In medieval Europe, specifically during the 12th century, pigeon towers gained popularity. These tall, cylindrical structures were built to house pigeon flocks. They were primarily constructed near castles, manors, and monasteries, and the pigeons were used as a food source and messengers.

19th Century CE

Pigeon Post and Carriers

The 19th century witnessed the usage of pigeons as messengers through the development of pigeon post systems. Pigeons were used to carry important messages in various parts of the world, including India, China, and Europe. They played a crucial role during wartime, acting as reliable messengers due to their natural homing instincts and ability to cover long distances swiftly.

1100 AD

Medieval Europe: Pigeons for Nobility

Pigeon breeding became an aristocratic hobby in Medieval Europe, particularly among the nobility and royalty. Various pigeon breeds were selectively bred for their unique characteristics, such as the fantail pigeon with its distinctively spread tail feathers. Pigeon lofts were constructed on castle grounds to house these prized birds.


Pigeon Post: Delivering the Mail

The concept of using pigeons for postal communication gained popularity in the early 19th century. Julius Reuter established the first regular pigeon post service between Brussels and Aachen, enabling faster delivery of news and information. Pigeons were trained to carry small capsules containing messages, overcoming the limitations of traditional mail services.

20th Century

Pigeons in war and recognition

During both World Wars, pigeons played a crucial role in military communication. They were carried on aircraft, ships, and even parachuted behind enemy lines to deliver important messages. Several pigeons were awarded medals for their bravery and service. One notable recipient was Cher Ami, a pigeon who saved the lives of nearly 200 American soldiers during World War I by successfully delivering a message despite being shot and wounded.

19th-20th Century

Pigeons in War

Pigeons play a crucial role during wartime as reliable messengers. Their service became more apparent during World Wars I and II, where they were used extensively to deliver messages in challenging conditions. These brave birds saved countless lives and were adorned with medals for their extraordinary service.

20th century

Pigeons in World Wars

During both World War I and World War II, pigeons played a vital role in military communications. Pigeons were utilized as reliable messengers, carrying vital information across enemy lines when other forms of communication were compromised. Their natural homing instinct and quick flight made them invaluable assets, saving countless lives in the process. Pigeons became iconic symbols of bravery and service during wartime.

1896 AD

The First Homing Pigeon Races

In 1896, the first organized homing pigeon races took place in Belgium. These races involved pigeons being released from long distances and racing back to their respective lofts. Homing pigeons' exceptional navigation abilities fascinated people and led to the establishment of racing clubs and competitions worldwide.

20th Century CE

Pigeons as Research Subjects

During the 20th century, pigeons were extensively studied by scientists for their cognitive abilities and behavior. B.F. Skinner, a renowned behavioral psychologist, used pigeons in his experiments to understand conditioning and reinforcement. Pigeons have proved to be valuable research subjects, contributing to various areas of scientific study.

20th Century

War Heroes: Pigeons as Messengers

Throughout the 20th century, pigeons served as reliable messengers during times of war. During World Wars I and II, pigeons were used extensively to carry vital messages across enemy lines. They played a crucial role in communication, saving countless lives and earning the status of war heroes.


Pigeon Racing: Sport with Feathers

Pigeon racing emerged as a competitive sport in the early 20th century. It quickly gained popularity worldwide, attracting enthusiasts who bred and trained pigeons for long-distance races. These races challenged the birds' navigation skills and endurance, with champions achieving remarkable speeds of over 90 miles per hour.


Symbol of urban wildlife and communication

Today, pigeons remain an integral part of the urban landscape, particularly in densely populated cities. They are often associated with public squares, parks, and iconic landmarks. While some consider them pests, others appreciate their presence as a symbol of nature's resilience in urban environments. Pigeon racing and pigeon fancying are still pursued as hobbies worldwide, showcasing the ongoing cultural significance of these remarkable birds.

21st Century CE

Pigeons in Modern Culture

In the 21st century, the term 'pigeon' continues to symbolize various aspects of human culture. Pigeons often make appearances in literature, art, films, and are even considered iconic in urban environments. They are appreciated for their adaptability to urban spaces and their interactions with humans.


Pigeons in Modern Society

In the present day, pigeons continue to be present in urban environments worldwide. Often considered pests, these birds have adapted well to city life and can be found in abundance in many cities. However, pigeons also have loyal admirers who appreciate their beauty and intelligence. Some cities have implemented unique initiatives to celebrate pigeons, such as pigeon races and festivals. Pigeons remain an enduring part of human history and culture.

21st Century

Symbol of Urban Wildlife

As cities grew and urban areas expanded, pigeons adapted to the urban environment. Pigeons have become a familiar presence in towns and cities worldwide, capturing the imagination of artists, photographers, and urban enthusiasts. They have become a symbol of urban wildlife, persevering in the face of rapid urbanization.


Pigeons Today: Urban Coexistence

In modern times, pigeons have adapted to urban environments around the world. They often dwell in cities and are commonly seen in parks and plazas. Despite some negative associations, pigeons continue to be studied for their navigational abilities and contribute to the urban ecosystem by aiding in seed dispersal and scavenging.

2021 AD

Modern Times: Pigeons as Urban Icons

In modern times, pigeons have become iconic symbols of urban landscapes around the world. They are often found in city squares and parks, coexisting with humans. While some perceive pigeons as a nuisance, they have become appreciated for their adaptability and endurance in thriving in the urban environment.

Did you know?

Did you know that pigeons have been trained to deliver mail? During World War I, homing pigeons were used to carry vital messages across enemy lines. Talk about winged messengers!


awareness fun animals

First identified

14th June 2015

Most mentioned on

13th June 2019

Total mentions


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