I was at a recent event where a group of doves were released as a symbol of remembrance. A friend who attended with me was appalled that this was still a common practice, since she thought it was inhumane to raise doves just to be released – where did they go afterwards?
I did some research and found it's not all bad news for the doves. Indeed doves are very fragile in the wild, and since they aren't known for their survival skills, would probably starve or get eaten by another animal before finding their way back anywhere. As a solution, it's standard practice to use white Homing Pigeons instead of doves, since they bare a striking resemblance to peace doves, but are capable of finding their way back to their nests from up to 600 miles away! How do they do it? Find out when you read more.
Researchers believe homing pigeons rely on a "map and compass" – the sun being the map and the earth's magnetic field being the compass, to find their way . . . even from places they've never been before! In fact, the longest recorded distance a homing pigeon has flown home was over 1,000 miles! Impressive.
After sharing the news with my friend, she was obviously relieved, but the action still left a bad taste in her mouth. How do you feel about dove-release ceremonies?