Pigeons of Peace

Guest Post by Olivia Street Verdugo

Olivia & April

It all began with an unexpected text, one unremarkable day in April, 2015. Little did I know how much answering that text would change my life!

It was my friend Alistair, and she had a pigeon in her backyard which had been there for hours and hadn’t tried to fly away when she let her dog out that morning. One picture was all it took, and I picked up and left the office to scoop up the pidge, and bring it to the local wildlife rescue. I found her huddled by a trashcan, severely emaciated, exhausted, and yet still standing proud, and something in my heart just cracked and melted all at once.

We named her April—she was a racing pigeon, going from the band on her ankle, and who knows how long she had been lost. I contacted Elizabeth at Palomacy who put me in touch with fellow local bird-lover and pigeon parent Dan Featherston (now my good friend!) and after April spent some time recuperating under his expert care, I adopted her and brought her HOME! The rest is history.

Rescued racing pigeon in the loving arms of her person

The day I brought April home

While I’d always loved pigeons from afar, April was the first pigeon I’d known so well. Almost two years and several pigeon rescues later, my love of pigeons is still going strong.

Pigeons are amazing! They thrive all over the world, side by side with humans, and share a rich history intertwined with ours. As such, they’ve made appearances as iconic symbols in many cultures throughout history. Some cultures believe they represent the spirit, others love, but arguably they are most well-known today as a symbol of peace. “But wait!” you may be thinking, “isn’t the symbol of peace a DOVE?” Well… yes, and no. The bird we commonly picture when we picture the symbol for peace is a white rock dove, also known as a rock pigeon.

La Colombe by Picasso

Why is it that we revere the white “dove” of peace and revile the “sky rat” with whom we share our cities? This has always struck me as such an arbitrary conferring of value… based merely on feather color. My “peace pigeon” pins were created out of a desire to shift the way people view these intelligent and kind birds, no matter what the color of their feathers.

petit à petit, l’oiseau fait son nid

And so I created Peace Pigeon pins. Le Petit Pigeon was inspired by the beautiful French idiom “petit à petit, l’oiseau fait son nid”, which literally translates to “little by little the bird makes its nest”, but also may be interpreted to mean “every little bit helps”, or “with time and perseverance goals can always be accomplished”. To me, it means “little and often make much”. Even the seemingly insurmountable may be accomplished when tackled bit by bit! I really try to cling to that when times are tough! Just baby steps, one foot in front of the other, etc. it still all ads up!”

And now I am pleased to announce that I am selling Pigeon of Peace hard enamel cloisonné pins for $12 each or a flock of 7 for only $75.60. 20% of the price is donated directly to Palomacy to support their rescue work! This pin features the classic dove of peace shaped-bird (which we all know is a white pigeon!) in classic blue-bar coloring and holding an olive branch. Shop here and Palomacy supporters will receive an extra discount through through February 7 with coupon code: XAIPE70Y

Olivia Verdugo is a graphic designer, loves urban wildlife (especially pigeons!) and lives in Philadelphia with boyfriend Joel, two pidge babies April and Charlie, and two wonderful foster pigeons Poppy and Beatrix. 

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