Pledge of Allegiance -

Cher Ami was a homing pigeon owned and flown by the U.S. Army Signal Corps in France during World War I. He helped save the Lost Battalion of the 77th Division in the battle of the Argonne, October 1918. In his last mission, he delivered a message despite having been shot through the breast, being blinded in one eye, covered in blood, and having a leg hanging only by a tendon. The bird was awarded the Croix de Guerre for heroic service delivering 12 important messages in Verdun, France.

The New York Bird Club requests that June 13 be declared as National Pigeon Day so that pigeons can be properly recognized as heroes.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

National Pigeon Day at Tackapusha Museum and Preserve

Boomer was the pigeon representative at the Pigeon Day held at the Tackapusha Museum and Preserve on July 28, 2010. It was part of the summer project offered to local children -- each week something different. There was a display of the different types of pigeons, books about pigeons and some simple history. The children ranged from 4 to about 8 yrs old. Their auditorium which seats 80 showed the Disney film -- VALIENT -- a wonderful animated story about a diminutive pigeon who wants so much to be part of the pigeon core delivering messages during the war. Terrific film!

Boomer was great, and she loved the children and was totally in her glory, and not stressed at all. Their parents too enjoyed the thrill the children felt, and I know this has positively effected the children (and the parents) as to how wonderful pigeons are.

There was crafts too -- Wendy, the onsite manager, had the children make their own pigeons with toilet paper rolls, sparkles, crayons and feathers. These are the next generation of pigeon advocates, and hopefully this will make a difference. I saw their faces and their delight. And the parents spoke with me, amazed -- they had no idea how wonderful pigeons could be. They plan hold another National Pigeon Day again next year.

Thank you Italia for sending this to me!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

New York Daily News - National Pigeon Day

Flying rats? No way!
Pigeons hailed by fans on special day in Central Park

BY Calvin Men
Sunday, June 20th 2010

Every dog has its day. And pigeons have one, too.

Bird advocates flocked to Central Park to celebrate the third annual National Pigeon
Day, an unofficial holiday to celebrate New York City's unofficial bird.

The appropriately named founder of Pigeon Day, Anna Dove, said the holiday aims to inform the public about the much-maligned scavenger bird.

"There are a lot of misconceptions about pigeons, and we want to educate people,"
Dove said. "They're getting a lot of negative publicity against them, and it's unjustified."

Some might say Pigeon Day was for the birds, but Lori Barrett, 41, attended to help raise awareness about pigeons captured in New York, then shot for sport in other states.

"I just want to set the record straight today: Pigeons are protected by New York State law," said Barrett, a lawyer.

Dove founded the New York Bird Club in 2002 for lovers of winged things - and her
passion runs so deep that she legally changed her surname to Dove to honor her
fine-feathered friends.

Bird was the word during Pigeon Day, which featured a speech on the history of
the carrier pigeons and a live rendition of the National Pigeon Day anthem. The tune
was inspired by the legendary carrier pigeon Cher Ami, which delivered messages to save lives during World War I.

But Dove thinks people nowadays perceive of pigeons as closer to flying rats than

"Rats and rodents, they're on the ground. But pigeons fly, so I don't see the
connection," she said. "Pigeons have wings like angels. Maybe we should associate
them with that."

Friday, March 19, 2010

National Pigeon Day 2010

Due to the Puerto Rican Day Parade which will take place on June 13 (the official National Pigeon Day), the Parks Department is not issuing any permits in Central Park; therefore,the National Pigeon Day event will take place on Saturday, June 19th from 10 am to 3 pm on Pilgrim Hill in Central Park. You can enter the park on Fifth Avenue and E. 72nd Street and Pilgrim Hill is a few minutes walk.

Participants are the following:

Stuart Chaifetz, an investigator for SHARK
will speak about legislation that is pending in Pennsylvania that will end pigeon shoots in that state.

Pigeon shoots are competitions wherein hundreds to thousands of live birds are shot at to win prizes. A typical 3-day shoot contest can kill and injure up to 15,000 birds.

The pigeons are captured and collected for weeks ahead of time, then released from trap boxes only yards away from the so-called "sportsmen". The birds are generally dazed and suffering from dehydration or starvation as they are sprung out of the boxes.

Rather than mercifully being given a quick death, 70% of the birds are injured when shot and either left to suffer slow deaths or collected and killed by pigeon shoot "trapper boys" or "wringers", traditionally children, who break their necks, step on them, tear off wings, suffocate them, or cut off their heads with garden shears, among other abuses.

Pigeon shoots are nothing more than a vile excuse for entertainment for the dull-witted or psychopathic. Illegal in other countries and in all but a couple of American states, most people realize the despicable nature of these bird-killing contests.

Anne Muller, president of Wildlife Watch, an organization that operates a national hotline for those who find injured or orphaned wild animals.
The presentation will include calls that Wildlife Watch receives from people who find exhausted "racing" pigeons who simply drop down from the sky and would die but for the help of those who find and rescue them, and those who rehabilitate them. Anne will be talking about government wildlife agencies and what needs to be done to give pigeons protection. Wildlife Watch publishes exposes of the mismanagement of wildlife by government wildlife agencies.

The following quote is straight from the current NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) website:

The few unprotected species include porcupine, red squirrel, woodchuck, English sparrow, starling, rock pigeon, and monk parakeet. Unprotected species may be taken at any time without limit. A hunting license is required to hunt unprotected wildlife with a bow or firearm.

However the NYS Environmental Conservation Law deems pigeons “unprotected wildlife”, what does this term of art mean? Does it mean that pigeons are exempt from animal cruelty laws or does it have a very limited application?

Lori Barrett, Esq, a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, attorney, and member of the New York City Bar Committee on Legal Issues Pertaining to Animals, will explain that there are several laws that indeed do protect pigeons from cruelty in New York State, and she will discuss how animal advocates can use these very laws to protect pigeons, and correct the popular misconception that pigeons are not protected by laws.

Ellen Kalish, president and founder of Ravensbeard, a prime wildlife rehabiliation center and sanctuary near Woodstock, NY
will talk about pigeons from a wildlife rehabilitator's perspective. She will share her experience caring for exhausted "racing" pigeons, and pigeons who've been afflicted with other injuries or illness.

Peter Muller, the chair of the League of Humane Voters-NY.
Peter is the chief lobbyist for LOHV in NYS and heads the lobbying action in Washington DC as part of AR2010. Peter will talk about the importance of political involvement to help pigeons. He will talk about current bills pending in the NYS Legislature that will help pigeons and other unprotected wildlife and will talk about possible new laws to expand on those protections and offer new ones to the noble pigeon.

Steven Bennett of Cambridge, Ohio, will be discussing the legendary history of the passenger pigeon. In a very positive and uplifting light, he will give a presentation that covers the bird’s routines in migration, diet, nesting, territory, habitat, and the amazing size of the flocks. Flocks that came as endless hurricanes. Once numbering in the billions, man’s destruction of the passenger pigeons brought down this army of feathers to a single bird ~ Martha ~ and in 1914, ultimate extinction. Mr. Bennett reveals how even today, we all share a connection with the passenger pigeon.

and others as follow....
Scott Massarsky (National Pigeon Day Anthem), Pet Rox Music.

Please check back for updates.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Post National Pigeon Day.......

Amos Latteier in his pigeon suit talks to Anne-Marie Richard about her gallery's pigeon-inspired art, as they advocate for the establishment of National Pigeon Day on June 13.
Source: New York Daily News

Maribeth's photos.
Enid & Enik puppet play on YouTube:

Part 1:

Part 2

Thank you Jessica Perilla Studios for taking these great photos of the event.
Note: If you plan to use the photos, please reference National Pigeon Day 2009.

We would like to thank Dr. Jeff of Pet Rox for coming by and performing and to all of the speakers, entertainers and guests, and a special thank you to Christine Mott, our Mistress of Ceremonies -- we couldn't have done it (so well) without you!

Friday, June 12, 2009

National Pigeon Day -- a celebration of New York pigeons!

Saturday, June 13, 2009
Noon - 4 pm
Pilgrim Hill in Central Park
New York, NY
(enter on northwest corner of 5th Avenue & E. 72nd Street)
Come on out in honor of "New York's unofficial feathered mascot" (quoted in the New York Post)

Please check back for updates to the event....
Speakers, political activism, entertainment, material and book distribution.

Join us as we rally for the rights of birds, protest pigeon trafficking to Pennsylvania for the purposes of pigeon shoots, pigeon control methods and poaching, rigid feeding laws and hunting activities at places such as the Philadelphia Gun Club in Bensalem; issues discussions, among other topics, will be New York feeding laws, pigeon condos, pigeon disease or lack of.

Committee of scheduled participants are the following. Program description follows:
Christine L. Mott, Esq, The Humane Society of the United States, Dr. Nick Sitinas,VMD, Diplomate ABVP avian practice, Rachel Hirschfeld, Esq., United Poultry Concerns, Amos Latteier, Charles Patterson, The Animal Club NYC, Mark Caponigro, Jenny Bower, Raghav Goyal, Johanna Clearfield, Don Jenner, the Trachtenberg Family, Ted Enik, Arlene Steinberg, A.M. Richard Fine Art, Skyler Ferrone, Sam Hack, Peter Pigeon of Snug Harbor, Norene Leddy, Fiona Walsh,The Vivian Girls Experience.

Our NPD Mistress of Ceremonies will be Christine L. Mott, Esq., member of the New York City Bar Association's Committee on Legal Issues Pertaining to Animals.

Patrick Kwan is New York state director for The Humane Society of the United States and spearheads the organization’s humane policy & campaigns in the Empire State. Backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28, including over 800,000 New Yorkers, The HSUS is the nation’s largest animal protection organization. Prior to joining The HSUS, he was a field organizer for Amnesty International and an advisory board member of the Center for Environmental Citizenship (now the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund), and managed media relations & communications efforts for corporate, nonprofit, and government organizations including the Mayor’s Alliance’s for NYC’s Animals, The September 11th Fund, and NYC & Company.

Amos Latteier - a Toronto-based interdisciplinary artist who creates interactive public art using technology and performs PowerPoint lectures. He has performed lectures across North America and in Europe. His recent public art projects include a location-specific haiku by sms project, a telephone-operated karaoke protest song project, a pigeon condo, cell phone-operated nature tour, a 500lb potato battery, and a chainsaw-powered walking machine.

Karen Davis, Ph.D., United Poultry Concerns, pigeon literature

Dr. Nick Sitinas, VMD, Diplomate ABVP avian practice, will give an educational talk about pigeons and pigeon disease and supply hand outs. Dr. Sitinas is a board certified avian specialist veterinarian. He is the owner of South Wilton Veterinary Group located in Wilton, CT.

Norene Leddy - a video, installation and new media artist living in Jersey City and working in Hoboken. Her work has been exhibited in New York and internationally, and awards include a Fulbright Fellowship to Cyprus and residencies at the Millay Colony for the Arts, Eyebeam Center for Art and Technology, and Gallery Aferro. She holds an MFA from Parsons The New School for Design, and currently teaches at Parsons and Kean University. Visit Norene online. Norene also holds a class about pigeons at the New School for Design.

Charles Patterson - the author of Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust (soon to be in 13 languages). He dedicated his book to the memory of his neighbor, the writer Isaac Bashevis Singer (1904-91), who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1978. The title of Patterson's book is from Singer: "In relation to them [animals] all people are Nazis; for the animals it's an eternal Treblinka." (Treblinka was a German death camp north of Warsaw.) Patterson will talk about Singer's love of birds and his devotion to feeding pigeons on Broadway and in Riverside Park.

Rachel Hirschfeld, Esq., nationally recognized pet trust attorney and advocate for people with pets will speak about "Feeding Laws in New York".

Rebecca Kreinen is founder of The Animal Club NYC and has rescued many an injured pigeon. She is especially interested in banning the use of glue traps used to deter pigeons from roosting. An elementary school teacher and science specialist, Ms. Kreinen is a vegan member of UFT’s Humane Education Committee and additionally completing her Humane Education Specialist certification through HSUS. She has launched Project Pigeon Watch with her students and runs in-school service projects collecting materials and funds for ACC's Safety Net and JASA’s Pet Project. Ms. Kreinen has a mission to elect officials who will mandate compliance with NY State’s Humane Education Law and see Humane Education training integrated into teacher preparation programs and state certification requirements. Ms. Kreinen will be accompanied by Skyler Ferrone, a member of The Animal Club and a sixth grader at Hunter College Elementary School for the Gifted and Talented. Skyler is a dedicated animal lover and will talk about her special relationship with one pigeon that she calls Dalmatian Pigeon.

Mark Caponigro teaches literature, Greek and Latin languages at Montclair State University, NJ, Department of Classics and General Humanities.
How a Pigeon Saved the Human Race: Doves in Ancient Religious Traditions (the role pigeons played in biblical and classic literature).

Jenny Bower first became acquainted with National Pigeon Day through Raghav Goyal. She has been a crusader for other species since the age of 6, when she found a dead bluejay on her driveway. Jenny studies Organ Performance and Geology at Oberlin College, and hopes to keep making a difference in this world, however small. She'll talk about the larger role of pigeons in America, from cultural to environmental: their influence in the arts in general, as well as the environmental niches they fill. Viva Pigeon!

Raghav Goyal, Oberlin '12, begun loving pigeons at a very young age, when first he ran giggling through a side-walk flock of them. Since, he has never let a cooing, head-bopping mass go un-run-through. "It is," he claims "his duty." Pigeons fill all of New York City's cold and dark and right-angle corners with little balls of feather-y life, and we must do anything we can to protect that bird that makes sure we're never alone. For the sake of all children and all grown-ups everywhere.

Sam Hack began creating puppet shows with Pigeon Woman and her pals the ƜberWomen in 1993. They have starred in many puppet performances around NYC. The episode when Pigeon Woman organizes pigeons to remove bags from trees was an audience favorite and became the premise for Pigeon Woman and the Snagged Bag, a children’s picture book. In creating the book, Sam spent years developing ways to set up tableaus in the park with puppets and pigeons, while avoiding running dogs and children. When not photographing pigeons, Sam is Ms. Sam the art teacher at PS 11in Chelsea.

Johanna Clearfield is a New York State licensed wildlife rehabilitator who has worked closely with The Wild Bird Fund to rescue and rehabilitate our city's sick and injured pigeons. Johanna will talk about pigeons in urban areas.

Don Jenner is a university teacher of political and moral philosophy by training, a whole lot of other things by default — and somewhat to his surprise, a person who really likes pigeons. He is a New York State licensed rehabilitator, and with his wife Sue, Laurie Spiegel, Anne McDonald and Jano Roze, a founding trustee of Wildlife in Tribeca, a new association aiming at support for the other "Yorkers" who share our town.

Enjoy a humorous, rhyming puppet play by the team of Enik + Enid (Ted Enik and Enid Crow) about the downfall of an arrogant politician intent on ridding a city of pigeons in order to impress his seven year old ornithophobic daughter. Author-illustrator Ted Enik has worked with a variety of contemporary and classic children’s book characters and titles, including Magic Schoolbus, Harry Potter, and Eloise. He is currently an artist for the popular Fancy Nancy series where pigeons can be spotted. Enid Crow is a photographer whose self-portrait photographs have been featured in magazines and galleries. She lives with two wounded pigeons, Hattie and Daisy, to whom this puppet play is dedicated.

Arlene Steinberg, contributing member of New York Bird Club, Philadelphia resident and animal advocate. Arlene will share her perspectives on how an early childhood interaction with pigeons started her on her way to a life-long love affair with animals in general and birds in particular, and how that love evolved into animal advocacy and rescue.

The Vivian Girls Experience is thrilled to play National Pigeon Day 2009! Ever since their single, "Kitten Lemonade Stand" hit number one on WKDU Blengin World Radio, Justin Duerr Vivian and Enid Crow Vivian have been enchanting the forests of Jennie Richie and Abiennia with songs dedicated to their hero Henry Darger and, you guessed it, feral pigeons. Songs like "Madeline, the Ash Grey Classic Blue Bar," "Pigeons on Parade," and "Pigeon Goes to a Party" are sure to make any true pigeon devotee flap her wings and coo with glee.

The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players. Listen to Rachel sing The Pigeon Song here.

Fiona Walsh, writer and performer.

Exhibition of photographs from "The Last Pigeon" - A.M.Richard Fine Art.

Copies of the book "Pigeon Woman and the Snagged Bag", by the author Sam Hack, will be given out.

The official national rollout of the award-winning illustrated book, Peter Pigeon of Snug Harbor will take place on National Pigeon Day, June 13, 2009. And its publishers, Rocky Hollow Press are putting together an exhibition of artwork from the book especially for the National Pigeon Day Ceremonies in Central Park. Ed Weiss, the author and illustrator will be there autographing books and discussing the intricacies of pigeon illustration.

Samples of high quality bird feed and grit will be given out courtesy of Gail at The Pigeon Store (920 Wellwood Ave, Lindenhurst, L.I.); however, please respect Central Park rules and regulations:
Feeding of birds and other wildlife prohibited, and please do not litter.


In the New York Bird Club's continued commitment to promote the positive portrayal of pigeons, we will hold our 2nd annual National Pigeon Day on Saturday, June 13th, 2009 to commemorate Cher Ami and other carrier pigeons who served humanity during times of war and unrest.

It is a time to reflect too on the three to five billion Passenger Pigeons that ranged across eastern North America that are now extinct. What a pity for them and also for mankind that one of the most abundant birds is now forever gone. Martha, thought to be the world's last passenger pigeon, died on September 1, 1914 in Cincinnati, Ohio. According to Wikipedia, the primary cause for extinction was held to be the commercial exploitation of pigeon meat on a massive scale. However current examination focuses on the pigeon's loss of habitat.

Pigeons and doves are universal symbols of peace, love and tranquility throughout recorded history. Adding to the "love" connection is the pigeons endearing loyalty and devotion to the same mate year after year. In biblical times, the pigeon had become a familiar image and symbol. According to biblical flood legend Noah sent out a raven that didn't come back and later a pigeon that returned with the olive branch, a sign of dry land - and of peace. From Noah to today's peace negotiations, writers, poets and artists have used the pigeon and dove to embody these ideals. Familiar images are the rock pigeons and doves carrying an olive branch, doves on wedding announcements and as emblems on peace slogans. Can it be a coincidence that of all the birds in existence it is the pigeon/dove that has been the chosen symbol of hope, love, purity, the Holy Spirit and also revered in Islam as the friend of the Prophet?

In 1150, the Sultan of Baghdad launched a pigeon postal service that functioned until about 1258. Pigeons were used as messengers in Julius Caesar's times as well as during the siege of Paris in 1870-1871 and in both World Wars. During World War II at least 32 pigeons received the Dickin Medal for brave service. By the late 1800s, every US Naval station had a pigeon loft, and some maintained them well into the 1950s.

Doves and pigeons have a dignified charm and an intriging though subtle personality and are loyal and trusting.

Pigeons are a parrot's close avian relatives. They share such traits such as mating for life, producing a crop milk to feed their young, having a fleshy skin covering their nostrils and producing a powdery down in their feathers and bonding easily with humans.

Science now tells us that the pigeon has been found to be able to remember hundreds of faces and are equal to higher order animals, such as dolphins and porpoises in their cognitive abilities.

Some think that a life without pigeons as unthinkable.

For centuries domestic pigeons were revered, until the 1960's and 70's when there was a concerted effort and false campaign employed by the pest control industry so that they could be exterminated, thereby creating a billion dollar industry.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Post National Pigeon Day with Photos

Karen Davis
Ana A. Garcia
Nellie McKay & Rachel Trachtenburg
Joe Franklin & Anna Dove
Hanna Fushihara Aron
Tina Trachtenburg

Photo credits: Adesina Sanchez

National Pigeon Day Slideshow (please do not reproduce without permission)

See what our speakers had to say

Happy LOL Day Images

National Pigeon Day Cookies

More pictures here.

Hello to all pigeon friends, advocates and lovers and thank you to all who made it happen!

It was good to see many old and new friends at our first National Pigeon Day which was a whopping success. The weather cooperated with us and NYC Parks Department personnel were helpful and cooperative. Thank you to the NYC Parks Department for allowing us to use their beautiful space Pilgrim Hill. If you have not visited there, you are missing one of New York City's nicest areas. Nearby is a pond, restrooms and a lovely quiet ambience. The only thing missing are: PIGEONS. I did not spot one during the four hours we were there.

Thank you to our wonderful New York Press who provided great coverage of the event.

I would like to thank all of our speakers with special thank you's to Councilman Tony Avella and Joe Franklin who gave a nice talk about his love for pigeons. If you have not met and spoken with Joe, you are missing someone very special. His warm and pleasing personality added a sparkle and magic to everything. It is easy to see why he is such a success. Also special thanks to Nellie McKay singing Feed the Pigeons on her ukelele and her music friends Tina Trachtenburg and her young daughter Rachel who joined in were sweet and delightful. Thank you all.

And thank you you to all our speakers -- Karen Davis of United Poultry Concerns who travelled from Virginia and our Master of Ceremonies Amanda Tree. It was a beautiful afternoon filled with good spirit, peace and harmony.

I hope to see you all again at our next one on Saturday, June 13, 2009, and please feel free to write with any suggestions.

Desi Sanchez, our webperson took photos and some film footage and I will post them as soon as she has them ready, so please check the site for updates.

In the meantime, I found some post National Pigeon Day material on the internet which I will post sporadically.

Thank you again to EVERYONE, and the pigeons thank coooooo. If I have left anyone out, thank cooooooo too.

Anna Dove
New York Bird Club

Belated National Happy Pigeon Day
The New York City Blog

Thursday, April 3, 2008

National Pigeon Day: An Education Phenomenon

Friday, June 13

4 - 8 pm

Pilgrim Hill in Central Park
New York, NY
(enter on northwest corner of 5th Avenue @ E. 72nd Street)

Entertainment, political activism, materials distribution, candlelight prayer service with guitar accompaniment and pigeon shaped cookies. Learn how carrier pigeons Cher Ami, GI Joe and Winkie saved the lives of more than 1,000 men in wartime. Become part of Project Pigeon Watch and have fun learning about our fascinating NYC residents.

Due to NYC Parks Department policy and restrictions, Pilgram Hill is considered a "quiet area", therefore, amplified sound is not permitted, making this event a casual and informal gathering.

Amanda Tree will host and play her music for National Pigeon Day.

Special Guest Joe Franklin

Speakers include:

Council Member Tony Avella, Nellie McKay, In Defense of Animals, Deacon Joseph Dwyer, Janice Fredericks, United Poultry Concerns, Raghav K. Goyal and Ana A. Garcia, Amanda Tree.

The New York Bird Club wishes to thank In Defense of Animals who will provide a banner, Hanna Fushihara Aron who will bake pigeon shaped cookies, God's Creatures Ministry who will provide candles, the United Federation of Teachers Humane Education Committee who will bring Pigeon Watch materials for distribution, all speakers and contributors and all our pigeon friends who advocate on behalf of our beautiful birds.

Guest Speakers and Schedule:
(biographies of some speakers follow)

4 pm - Valerie Sicignano, East Coast Director of In Defense of Animals
Opening remarks.
The current situation regarding the illegal baiting and trapping of pigeons will be addressed.

4:30 - The Honorable Council Member Tony Avella (D), District 19, Queens, New York, NY

5:15 - Deacon Joseph Dwyer, graduate of the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey; Ordained Catholic Deacon; Vice Chancellor for Administration for the Diocese of Newark; Board Member for Catholic Concern for Animals.

Synopsis: Why compassion and love must be applied in all our relationships with animals, and how the loyalty of pigeons saved mankind during World Wars 1 and 11 carrying messages in the heat of battle. Medals were bestowed upon Cher Ami, G.I. Joe and Winkie for saving human lives.

Immediately following Deacon Dwyer's talk, he will conduct a Candlelight Vigil and Prayer Service for the pigeons of New York City, accompanied on the guitar by Jan Fredericks. Copies of the Best Friends Proclamation will be available for hand out.

June 13th is also the day of the Feast of St. Anthony of Padua, Doctor of Theology and Franciscan Patron Saint of the Animal Kingdom. An integral part of St. Anthony's Feast Day is the blessing of the animals.

Biblical References:

Proverbs 12:10, "The righteous man regards the life of his beast."

In Genesis 9, after the flood, it is mentioned five times that "I will make a covenant with you and with all living creatures."

Deuteronomy 22 and Exodus 23, "If you see an animal that is overburdened, you should lighten its load to help it."

Job 12: 7-10, "Ask the birds, ask the beasts and they will teach you."

5:45 - Amanda Tree, filmographer and entertainer, will give a performance of "Over the Rainbow" and a talk about Cher Ami.

Cher Ami was a homing pigeon owned and flown by the U.S. Army Signal Corps in France during World War I. He helped save the Lost Battalion of the 77th Division in the battle of the Argonne, October 1918. In his last mission, he delivered a message despite having been shot through the breast, being blinded in one eye, covered in blood, and having a leg hanging only by a tendon. The bird was awarded the Croix de Guerre for heroic service delivering 12 important messages in Verdun.

6 - Karen Davis, Ph.D., President of United Poultry Concerns
"The Human Nature of Pigeons"

Synopsis: A scientist calls pigeons "geniuses." Pigeons are highly intelligent birds and model parents. She will show by way of example how closely their hearts and minds are akin to our own.

6:40 - Raghav K. Goyal, Committee Member (Facebook)

Synopsis: A Long Island teenager's perspective on the fight for the singular international bird.

7 - Ana A. Garcia, Social Studies high school teacher

Synopsis: presentation of art works by students that display the valuable and valiant efforts of the gentle and intelligent pigeons during World War I. Students indicated a respect and admiration for the courage and intelligence that the pigeons demonstrated during a critical time during WWI. Their sentiments are wonderfully displayed in their artwork which was part of a special project as a result of a lesson plan that revolved around the bravery of the pigeons, and most particularly Cher Ami.

7:15 - Nellie McKay, singer-songwriter, acclaimed actress and animal activist.
She will sing Feed the Birds on her ukelele among other songs.

"Feed the Birds (Tuppence a Bag)" is a song written by the Sherman Brothers (Richard M. Sherman & Robert B. Sherman) and featured in the 1964 motion picture Mary Poppins. It is reputed to have been Walt Disney's favorite song.

The song speaks of an old beggar woman who sits on the steps of
Saint Paul's Cathedral, selling bags of breadcrumbs to passers-by for tuppence a bag, so that the passers-by can feed the many pigeons who surround the old woman. (The scene is reminiscent of the real-life seed sellers in nearby Trafalgar Square that once existed.)

Council Member Tony Avella won election to the New York City Council in the 19th District - Northeast Queens in 2001 and was reelected with an overwhelming majority in both the 2003 and 2005 elections. Tony is Chair of Zoning and Franchises for the City Council and is a member of five Council committees: Higher Education, Housing and Buildings, Fire and Criminal Justice Services, Land Use, and Veterans. Tony is the founder and Chair of the first Italian-American Caucus of the City Council.

Tony's public service career began over 20 years ago as an aide to New York City Council Member Peter Vallone, Sr. He served as an aide to Mayors Koch and Dinkins and as Chief of Staff to the late State Senator Leonard Stavisky and to State Senator Toby Stavisky.

Since taking office in January 2002, Tony has authored important legislation that helped end a seven-week long private bus strike, encouraged boating safety and protested Neo-Nazi organizations that spread racism and bigotry.

Tony's historic "Demolition by Neglect" bill was signed into law by the Mayor in February 2005. This legislation enables the Landmarks Preservation Commission to prevent the willful destruction of our City's treasured landmarks by unscrupulous property owners. Tony's legislation was strongly supported by 46 preservation and civic groups including the Landmarks Conservancy, the Historic Districts Council and the National Historic Trust.

As Zoning and Franchises Chair, Tony led the fight for and won citywide amendments to the "Community Facilities" section of the zoning code to address serious abuses that impact the quality of life in neighborhoods throughout the City. His efforts resulted in the first real changes to this part of the zoning code in over 40 years.

Tony has also been at the forefront in the battle citywide against overdevelopment and the proliferation of "McMansions." Working with the Mayoral administration and the Department of City Planning he has created new zoning districts such as R2A, which prevents the construction of "McMansions" and rezoned major portions of his district as well as numerous other neighborhoods in the City to preserve the unique residential character and quality of life.

As Chair of the Italian American Caucus, Tony has promoted Italian culture and heritage through an annual celebration at City Hall in October during Italian American Heritage Month. Tony has also been in the forefront of fighting the negative stereotyping of Italian Americans.

Prior to his election, Tony served in numerous volunteer capacities including, founder and President of the North Shore Anti-Graffiti Volunteers, Bay Terrace Civilian Patrol President, College Point Sports Association President, Preservation Alliance of Northeast Queens President, Bayside Historical Society President, founder and President of the Joint Community Council of College Point, and a member of Queens Community Board #7.

For his numerous volunteer civic endeavors on behalf of all New Yorkers, in 1997 Tony was awarded New York State's Community Service Award from nominations received across the entire State. Since his election, Tony has been honored by numerous fraternal organizations, civic associations, sports and school/educational groups. In 2005 alone, Tony was honored by the Garibaldi Meucci Museum on Staten Island, received the 2005 Friend In High Places Award from the Historic District Council, the Community Mayor's 2005 Humanitarian Award and the coveted Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award from the New York Landmarks Conservancy.

Tony is a graduate of Hunter College of the City University of New York. He is a lifelong Queens resident and currently resides in Whitestone, Queens with his wife Judith.

General Information -
Entered City Council: 01/01/2002
Current Term Expires: 12/31/2009
Represents: Bayside, College Point, Auburndale, Beechhurst, Whitestone, Bay Terrace, Robinwood; parts of Flushing, Douglaston, Little Neck.
Committees: Zoning & Franchises (Chair); Fire & Criminal Justice Services; Higher Education; Housing & Buildings; Land Use; Veterans.
Tony Avella for Mayor

Deacon Joseph Dwyer, graduate of the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey; Ordained Catholic Deacon; Vice Chancellor for Administration for the Diocese of Newark; Board Member for Catholic Concern for Animals.

Co-authored “A Religious Proclamation for Animal Compassion,” a document whose creation was sponsored by Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. Deacon Joe speaks frequently on the need for kindness and compassion toward animals to be realized as a core spiritual value. Deacon Joe has contributed stories to Angel Animals and is published on Aunt Mary's Doghouse. Also a certified veterinary technician, Deacon Joe and his wife share their lives with three beloved dachshunds; Greta, Rommel and Spartacus.

Jan Fredericks, L.P.C., M.A.
Licensed Counselor Christian Educator Founder, God's Creatures Ministry
Chair, Catholic Concern for Animals-USA
Co-author of "A Religious Proclamation for Animal Compassion".

Karen Davis, Ph.D. is the founder and president of United Poultry Concerns (UPC), an organization that addresses the treatment of chickens and other domestic fowl in food production, science, education, entertainment, and human companionship situations and promotes the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl.

In November of 1999, Karen and UPC were profiled in “For the Birds” in The Washington Post, winner of the Ark Trust Genesis Award for Outstanding Newspaper Feature that year, and in July of 2002, Karen was inducted into the U.S. Animal Rights Hall of Fame “for outstanding contributions to animal liberation.”

Karen is the editor of Poultry Press, the quarterly magazine of United Poultry Concerns. Her essays appear in collections that include Animals and Women: Feminist Theoretical Explorations (Duke University Press, 1995), Terrorists or Freedom Fighters: Reflections on the Liberation of Animals (Lantern Books, 2004), Animal Liberation Philosophy and Policy Studies Journal (Center on Animal Liberation Affairs, 2005), and Encyclopedia of Animals and Humans (Greenwood, 2007). Her essay “Procrustean Solutions to Animal Identity and Welfare Problems” is forthcoming in a collection published by SUNY Press.

Karen’s books include A Home for Henny (UPC, 1994), Instead of Chicken, Instead of Turkey: A Poultryless “Poultry” Potpourri (Book Publishing Co., 1999), More Than a Meal: The Turkey in History, Myth, Ritual, and Reality (Lantern Books, 2001), The Holocaust and the Henmaid’s Tale: A Case for Comparing Atrocities (Lantern Books, 2005), and Prisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs: An Inside Look at the Modern Poultry Industry (Book Publishing Co., 1996; New Revised Edition, 2008).

Karen Davis maintains a sanctuary for chickens, turkeys and ducks at UPC’s headquarters on the Virginia Eastern Shore. In 1998, Ira Glass, host of National Public Radio’s This American Life, was so impressed with the chickens he met at the sanctuary that he told millions of viewers on Late Night with David Letterman, in 2007, that he hasn’t eaten chicken or any other animal flesh since.

Nellie McKay has released three critically acclaimed albums: Get Away From Me, Pretty Little Head, and her most recent, Obligatory Villagers.

Nellie's music has been heard on the television shows Weeds, Grey's Anatomy and NCIS. She created original songs for the Rob Reiner-directed film Rumor Has It, and recently made her feature film debut in P.S. I Love You.

On the stage, Ms. McKay won a Theatre World Award for her portrayal of Polly Peachum in the Broadway production of The Threepenny Opera. She has performed on numerous television and radio shows, opened for Bo Diddley and Sting, dueted with Eartha Kitt, TreyAnastasio and Taj Mahal, interviewed Doris Day, and shared the stage with Gloria Steinhem, Odetta, Lou Reed, Elvis Costello, Cyndi Lauper, and many other wonderful artists.

In addition to her music, Ms. McKay is a contributor to The New York Times Book Review. A recipient of the Humane Society's 2005 Doris Day Music Award for her dedication to animal rights, she has also participated in benefits for groups ranging from Planned Parenthood and Fair Fund to the ACLU and Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. In addition, Nellie has been active in supporting get-out-the-vote efforts, the campaign to close primate laboratories and working to ban carriage horses throughout the country.

Raghav K. Goyal is a Herricks High School graduating student; Oberlin College Class of 2012 and a Barack Obama proponent.

Ana A. Garcia is a vegan animal advocate, a board member of Catholic Concern for Animals, and Social Studies high school teacher.

New York Magazine - Pro-Pigeonism Article

Pigeons are nature’s ambassadors to many young New Yorkers. Kids may grow up singing about Old McDonald, imitating farm animals, and reciting their “this little piggy”s, but those animals aren’t city dwellers. What parent hasn’t gotten a whine-free afternoon thanks to some birds and a few crackers? Nonetheless, pigeons have enemies: landlords, the bird-poop-phobic, and Woody Allen, who dubbed them rats with wings. But on June 13, bird lovers will spring to the underdog’s defense by hosting National Pigeon Day in Central Park. “We’re trying to promote a positive image,” says New York Bird Club founder Anna Dove via telephone, rescued canaries tweeting in the background. “There’s such negativity for no reason. They’re harmless, defenseless. They can’t attack; their beak is very soft.” Other members of the crusade against “anti-pigeonism” include Karen Davis of United Poultry Concerns and Valerie Sicignano of In Defense of Animals. The day is equal parts class and party: Kids will learn cool pigeon facts (e.g., how the birds acted as wartime carriers and how they’re smart enough to recognize alphabet letters) as they nibble on pigeon-shape cookies, view pigeon-inspired children’s art, and take part in a candlelight prayer service. (Dove worries there might not even be urban pigeons in five years.) Meanwhile, she urges all New York families to “carry a bit of bread crumbs in your bag, a few seeds to show kindness and respect. The pigeon isn’t a threat or an enemy. It goes along with quality of life to show kindness and compassion to all living things.” That’s a lovely lesson for the children.

6/13, 4 to 8 p.m. Pilgrim Hill in Central Park, enter on Fifth Ave. at 72nd St. (212-369-1293 or; free.


National Pigeon Day - In Defense of the City Pigeon
Friday, June 13
4 - 8 pm
Pilgrim Hill in Central Park New York, NY enter on 5th Avenue @ E. 72nd Street

Guest Speakers: Deacon Joseph Dwyer (Cheri Ami - The Hero Pigeon) Karen Davis, Ph.D., President, United Poultry Concerns Valerie Sicignano, East Coast Director, In Defense of Animals Additional speakers will be announced at a later date.

Speeches, materials distribution, candlelight prayer service with guitar accompaniment and pigeon shaped cookies. Learn how carrier pigeons Cher Ami and GI Joe saved the lives of more than 1,000 men in wartime. Become part of Project Pigeon Watch and have fun learning about our fascinating NYC residents.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, Apr. 29 -/E-Wire/-- Why do many people hate pigeons? Woody Allen inadvertently cursed them when he infamously described them as "rats with wings" in "Stardust Memories." Unfortunately, to paraphrase Henry David Thoreau, "The 'pigeon' you kill in jest dies in earnest." These birds do not deserve the jihad against them.

Currently in New York City, there is a particular problem of pigeon poaching, with people driving up in vans in pre-dawn hours, throwing out food for pigeons and then netting the birds when they land and eat. While it is thought that some of these birds end up in food markets or as fresh racing stock for homing pigeons, most of them are likely destined for shooting clubs in Pennsylvania, where gun clubs use them as living targets in bird shoots. Legislative efforts are underway to put an end to these events, but until then, the birds are deprived of food and water and are so disoriented upon release that a blind, drunk shooter with missing fingers would still be able to shoot some birds.

In addition to the poaching, some areas are proposing extreme local legislation and fines for feeding pigeons. Pigeons are peaceful creatures, faithful mates, exemplary parents, have the most amazing navigational and homing abilities, and are also considered to be one of the most intelligent birds on the planet. They have been proven to recognize their reflection in a mirror and are one of only 6 species (and the only non-mammal), that has this ability. They can recognize the letters of the alphabet and can differentiate between photographs.

In both World Wars I and II, carrier pigeons saved thousands of lives. In WWI, Cher Ami (Dear Friend) was awarded the French "Croix de Guerre" for saving many French soldiers by getting a message across enemy lines in the heat of battle despite being shot in the chest and leg. In WWII, G.I. Joe delivered a message to stop a bombing that would have killed a thousand soldiers. He received the "Dickin" medal for his bravery.

It is a great misconception that pigeons are capable of spreading disease to human beings through their droppings. Pest control companies have seized this irrational fear as a way of pumping up their business, but the fact is ALL animals and birds have the potential to carry and pass on diseases; however, the likelihood of this happening is virtually zero. Pigeons give a city a wonderful "flavor" – they are part of the charm, they belong there. They are often a city child's first contact with nature, and an elderly person's only friends. It would indeed be a loss and a mistake to remove them from the scene.

New York Bird Club
/CONTACT:, 212-369-1293

Press release contributed by Arlene B. Steinberg