Fun Fact: Pigeon Used to Be ‘What’s for Dinner’ in New York
Pigeon Tenders were a thing, you say?
When one thinks of food, how often does one look around and think mmmmmm. I could go for some fried pigeon? Probably not. For most of us, we think of pigeon as those annoying, practically gang member fowl--who are ubiquitous in New York City proper, and have no care or control of where they poo.
But did you know there was a time, long, long ago when pigeons weren't even a thing in New York?
Why, No. No they weren't.
And did you know that pigeons were once actually raised for food?
Why, yes. Yes, they were. According to The New York Public Library blog, "Pigeons are certainly not indigenous, but they have made themselves quite at home in the Big Apple. In Wild New York: A Guide to the Wildlife, Wild Places, & Natural Phenomena of New York City, authors Margaret Mittelbach and Michael Crewdson explain "Also called rock doves, pigeons were first brought to this country from Europe, probably during the 1600s, and that their original status here was that of a barnyard animal, raised purely for the table."
Read More: Pigeons are considered the number one pest bird problem in the United States and around the world.
Some more random, fun facts about pigeons from the New York Library:
- Thousands of years ago in North Africa, people built dovecotes to house and raise pigeons for food and to use their droppings as fertilizers.
- New Yorkers have kept a similar relationship with pigeons by building coops on building rooftops and raising pigeons for racing and companionship.
- Bert on Sesame Street famously loves pigeons, enough to sing about it.
- Scientist Nikola Tesla was extremely fond of pigeons and would frequent NYC parks searching for injured birds, which he would then bring back to his residence at the Hotel New Yorker to nurse them back to health. His obsession with pigeons is documented in the novel The Invention of Everything Else and he had a favorite pigeon, which he mourned when she died.
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