A History of Doves
About Our Doves
The doves we use are actually homing pigeons, which are related to the dove species. Your average doves are too fragile to make the flight home and do not have a natural homing instinct to find their way home. Homing pigeons are slightly larger, have the homing ability, and are stronger flyers. Even so, their performance is possible only after prolonged and precise training. We primarily release breathtakingly beautiful white doves, however, weather and event permitting may have to use our special breed of flyers called “blue bar” doves. These will more than likely be released behind the scenes to assist the white doves in their presentation. We will inform you the day prior. All our “doves” are well-groomed, well-fed, happily taken care of, very clean, healthy birds, and they love to fly, showing off their skills.
Moon Landing Dove Release professionals are 100% reliable, clean, on time, and are dressed appropriately for your special occasion. We will make you proud!
History of Doves (aka Pigeons)
The sport of flying homing pigeons was well-established as early as 3000 years ago. They were used to proclaim the winner of the Olympics. Messenger pigeons were used as early as 1150 in Baghdad and also later by Genghis Khan. By 1167 a regular service between Baghdad and Syria had been established by Sultan Nour-Eddin. In Damietta, by the mouth of the Nile, the Spanish traveller Pedro Tafur saw carrier pigeons for the first time, in 1436, though he imagined that the birds made round trips, out and back. The Republic of Genoa equipped their system of watch towers in the Mediterranean Sea with pigeon posts. Tipu Sultan used carrier pigeons. They returned to the Jamia Masjid mosque in Srirangapatna, which was his headquarters. The pigeon holes may be seen in the mosque’s minarets to this day.
In 1818, a great pigeon race called the Belgian Concourse took place at Brussels. In 1860, Paul Reuter, who later founded Reuters press agency, used a fleet of over 45 pigeons to deliver news and stock prices between Brussels and Aachen, the terminals of early telegraph lines. The outcome of the Battle of Waterloo was also first delivered by a pigeon to England. During the Franco-Prussian War pigeons were used to carry mail between besieged Paris and the French unoccupied territory. Possibly the first regular air mail service in the world was Mr. Howie’s Pigeon-Post service from the Auckland New Zealand suburb of Newton to Great Barrier Island, starting in 1896. Certainly the world’s first ‘airmail’ stamps were issued for the Great Barrier Pigeon-Gram Service from 1898 to 1908.
Homing pigeons were still employed in the 21st century by certain remote police departments in Odisha state in eastern India to provide emergency communication services following natural disasters.
In March 2002, it was announced that India’s Police Pigeon Service messenger system in Odisha was to be retired, due to the expanded use of the Internet. The Taliban banned the keeping and/or use of homing pigeons in Afghanistan.
As carrier pigeons
When used as carrier pigeons in pigeon post a message is written on thin light paper and rolled into a small tube attached to the bird’s leg. Pigeons can only go back to one “mentally marked” point that they have identified as their home. So “pigeon mail” can only work when the sender is actually holding the receiver’s pigeons. White homing pigeons are used in release dove ceremonies at weddings, funerals, and some sporting events.
Birds were used extensively during World War I. One homing pigeon, Cher Ami, was awarded the French Croix de Guerre for his heroic service in delivering 12 important messages, despite having been very badly injured.
During World War II, the Irish Paddy, the American G.I. Joe and the English Mary of Exeter all received the Dickin Medal. They were among 32 pigeons to receive this award, for their gallantry and bravery in saving human lives with their actions. Eighty-two homing pigeons were dropped into Holland with the First Airborne Division Signals as part of Operation Market Garden in World War II. The pigeons’ loft was located in London which would have required them to fly 240 miles to deliver their messages. Also in World War II, hundreds of homing pigeons with the Confidential Pigeon Service were airdropped into northwest Europe to serve as intelligence vectors for local resistance agents. Birds played a vital part in the Invasion of Normandy as radios could not be used for fear of vital information being intercepted by the enemy.
The humorous IP over Avian Carriers (RFC 1149) is an Internet protocol for the transmission of messages via homing pigeon. Originally intended as an April Fools’ Day RFC entry, this protocol was implemented and used, once, to transmit a message in Bergen, Norway on April 28, 2001.
In September 2009, a South African IT company, based in Durban, pitted an eleven-month-old bird armed with a data packed 4GB memory stick against the ADSL service from the country’s biggest internet service provider, Telkom. The pigeon named Winston took an hour and eight minutes to carry the data fifty miles. Including transferring, it took two hours, six minutes, and 57 seconds for the data to arrive, the same amount of time it took to transfer 4% of the data over the ADSL.