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.

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.

1 comment:

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