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Dove Release Ceremonies

Dove Release Ceremonies: Maybe Not As Bad As You Think

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


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?


Join The Conversation
motherhelen motherhelen 8 years
I believe dove releases (or white pigeons) have become more widely accepted because they are better for the environment than a rice toss or balloon release at events like weddings.
Glittersniffer Glittersniffer 8 years
I know a lady that does this as her business, and she said that in the past 5 years she has only lost one bird, and it was an older one. She won't go too far from home, and she takes good care of her birds (she said she has ten, and won't get more). As with anything animal related...if you're going to do it, find someone who does it properly! Worst thing I ever saw was butterflies in paper envelopes to be released at a wedding. I saw more on the ground than in the air. Made me very sad.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i was just at a wedding this weekend - and it was more upsetting to me to see that there were 2 in one little box waiting to be released rather than the fact that they are raised and set free. it's hard cause at the end - there was one bird that didn't fly and was just hobbling around. it must have gotten squashed in the box and didn't want to get out there with the rest of them. it's pretty - but not really my type of thing.
HeidiMD HeidiMD 8 years
Foxie, I completely agree with you. The so-called beauty of such an event is definitely not worth it to me.
foxie foxie 8 years
I'd be more concerned with how they're treated. Being that they are basically sold as entertainment props, I'd venture to guess that they're not treated so great.
ladyr ladyr 8 years
I was at an event a few months ago where they released two "doves." I don't know if they were actually homing pigeons or not. Either way, when they let them go they became very disoriented and distraught. One of them went up on a nearby building and just kept pacing along the roof and looking down acting worried. The second bird flew up and then landed on the ground in the middle of the band (which was playing very loud music). It looked so upset and I was afraid someone might step on it. Maybe if you have very well-trained birds who know exactly what to do it could be ok, but I don't think I would ever release birds at an event that I was organizing.
Frika Frika 8 years
When my grandmother's ashes were scattered in the sea via boat, the released two "doves" and they found their way back. They just had to make sure the shoreline was in view, otherwise they could get completely lost.
couture-yourself couture-yourself 8 years
I've been to a couple of events where homing pigeons were released and I've never really thought of it as a bad thing.
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