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Wednesday, August 2, 2023

release dove ~ the white pigeons ..... and the ones at Marina beach

Pigeons are commonly found in many places – there are quite a few of them on the Temple walls at Thiruvallikkeni.  Have posted earlier on the thousands of pigeons that gather at Marina beach opposite to the famous Vivekanandar House in the morning.  Pigeons and doves constitute the bird ‘clade Columbidae’  that include some 310 species. 

The homing pigeon is a variety of domestic pigeon derived from the rock pigeon, selectively bred to find its way home over extremely long distances.  The wild rock pigeon has an innate homing ability, meaning that it will generally return to its nest and mate. This made it relatively easy to breed from the birds that repeatedly found their way home over long distances. Often we see, doves being released at ceremonial occasions !

A release dove is a breed of Rock Dove (domestic pigeon) used for ceremonial release. Release doves are often used to commemorate important milestones  and are also  released at grand opening ceremonies – be it political or sporting events.  White homing pigeons are the most preferred for these, for  white symbolizes love,  peace, purity, serenity, and more. 

Sadly, the domesticated dove, when released would find the nature cruel and difficult to survive.  Sometimes to prevent harming these gentle birds, white rock doves, or racing pigeons, are often substituted for ring-necked doves.   Last year, when Pope Francis and two children released two white "peace doves" at the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City, the doves were immediately attacked by other birds, losing feathers and being driven away as a huge crowd watched.  Subsequently, tens of thousands of Tweets and FB posts were launched, some of which used words such as "demonic," "omen," and "apocalypse"—and inevitably, of course, referring to "angry birds."

It is stated that though thousands of pigeons live in Rome – white doves are rare.  The white birds reportedly became immediate target of aggression.  It is stated that  albino birds generally don't live long in the wild – due to their colour they are easy targets, cannot hide falling victim to predators easily.   

The result this year was that dozens of balloons were released at the Vatican as a sign of peace – keeping in mind the bloody conclusion to the peace service in 2014 appears to have forced the Pope's officials to cancel the tradition, replacing the age-old symbols with a more modern alternative. Animal welfare groups were outraged by last year's disaster - claiming the Vatican did not do enough to protect the doves used during the ceremony.

So balloons replaced doves – reportedly one of them was filled with hot air and contained messages promoting global peace, while a child read out a speech on the same theme.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

29th Jan 2015.

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