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.

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"
literature/handouts

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 nationalpigeonday.com); free.

PRESS RELEASE E-WIRE PRESS RELEASE E-WIRE PRESS RELEASE

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.

/SOURCE:
New York Bird Club
04-29-2008
/CONTACT:
nybirdclub@yahoo.com, 212-369-1293
/WEB SITE:
http://www.nationalpigeonday.com/
http://www.peopleforpigeons.com/

Press release contributed by Arlene B. Steinberg

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