There’s a homing pigeon living in my barn that I’ve had since she was just a little older than a fledgling. For years, my dad and I thought it might be fun to raise a few, and eventually fly them back and forth between our two places, which are about a 30 minute car ride apart. Well, it didn’t work out the way we thought it would. We didn’t realize the investment we would need to make, and that the return would be a few years in coming. When released, a homing pigeon will return to the place that it was hatched and raised. To be able to do what we wanted required purchasing mated pairs of birds, allowing them to raise young, and then training those young over a period of time. About a year into it, my dad and I both came to the realization that it wasn’t something we wanted to continue with. So, back to my bird. Apparently, she was young enough when I brought her home that she imprinted on my place, and decided she wanted to stay with me.
She’s the funniest thing. When my family is outdoors working in the yard, or working in the barn, she will fly down from the rafters of the hayloft and follow us around like a puppy dog. We’ve never given her a name…. we just call her Bird. Today, we got a little bit of rain. Well, maybe just a cloud burst. Since the beginning of August, we’ve had very little rain and I’ve noticed that the birds, in general, get pretty excited about the little bit of water and come out to play. Bird is no exception, and she came out of the barn to enjoy the shower we got this afternoon. I looked out my kitchen window to see her standing in the middle of the yard, flexing her wings to catch as much water on her feathers as possible. I wasn’t able to grab my camera fast enough for that particular image, but she humored me long enough to pose for a couple of shots.
Updated to add: After posting the link to this blog post on my Facebook wall, I discovered I had a friend who raises homing pigeons. Her comments prompted some conversation that I thought I would share here. My friend wanted to know if we had ever held Bird. I told her that originally, we had the birds in an outdoor, walk-in 10×5 fly cage. It was situated outside of one of our barns, and had a sliding door that accessed a large indoor fly cage. While she was young we handled her occasionally. Since Bird took up residence in the hayloft, we’ve never felt the need to handle her. I love to watch her fly. It’s like watching pure joy. She also comes out to help me garden some times. It would probably be pretty funny for someone to observe, because I talk to her.