Here’s an amusing story (click here) about how one of South Africa’s internet services is so slow at transmitting data that a carrier pigeon reached its destination with the downloaded data before the internet transmission went through. (Well, I suppose it’s not funny to customers.) As a bird-person though, what I found fascinating wasn’t that the internet service was so slow that pigeon beat it, but that the pigeon could fly 50 miles in just over an hour. That’s just about how fast it takes to drive the same distance in Southern California most weekdays.
I’ve never thought of pigeons as great, efficient flyers but perhaps that’s because the ones I see are usually loitering outside Costco’s food court, jockeying for position to snatch up a piece of fallen pizza crust. Still, I think my cockatiel, with his long, sleek and virtually wing-feather-trim-proof feathers, could take on a pigeon in a flat out race. On second thought, Gracie has absolutely no sense of direction, so he would never reach the finish line. (For umpteenth time, Gracie, the bird room is to the right; not left and on top of living room window. But you know that already …) Even if my ’tiel had a sense of direction, he’d fall for any self-reflection along the way (car mirrors, reflective windows, etc). Pigeons, I suppose, are above all that.