If you follow me on Social Media, Instagram and Facebook, then you may know about my new friend Red. However, you don’t know another wild part of the story, more on that at the end. A week before last as I was heading out to my back porch to have my morning tea, a squirrel was going nuts on the roof of my pool screen barking at something on the gutter. At first glance I thought it was a hawk, but on closer inspection I detected it was a rather larger pigeon or dove. It seemed really odd to me because we don’t have this variety flying wild in my area.
There was something about it, that captivated me right away. I have heard stories of those that believe if a loved one has passed they often can show up or their sprit can show up for you in animal form. Being a descendant of Native American culture, I am aware of the belief that people have spirit animals. Those that seem to show up for you often. For me they are birds in some form or dragon flies. This spring I had a family of hawks raising their young in my back yard. With dragon flies, I am always saving them or they fly around me constantly and sometimes land on me.
When I saw the pigeon based on it’s coloring I immediately thought of my mom, who passed away not quite 2 years now. It did not seem afraid of me whatsoever or fly away. I though it might be hungry so I grabbed a handful of bird seed which I happened to have on hand from my bird feeder and scattered it on the ground. It immediately flew down and started eating and didn’t seem bothered by me at all so I sat with it while it ate. I could see it cocking it’s head at the water sound from the pool. I opened the screen door and it helped itself to a refreshing drink from the pool, hopped around on my deck and then went back out to eat.
I noticed it had a yellow tag on one leg and I was able to copy all the numbers and letters on the tag. I came in and Googled, “pigeon with a yellow tag on it’s leg” which led me to the site for the American Racing Pigeon Union. My friend turned out to be a homing pigeon that races. Who knew? I located the club it belongs to from a series of letters on the band, and called the secretary of the club who lives about 25 miles north of me.
He proceeded to tell me that there was a 100 mile race east of Jacksonville Florida, the weekend before he showed up on Tuesday and his guess was he must have followed the Orlando birds and then got too tired to fly home. He was able to locate who owned the bird by the numbers on the band and I got his phone number. He also advised it’s not a matter of the owner just coming to pick up the bird as they will just fly away if you try to capture them. My best bet was to enclose it my pool screen area, or capture it put it in a box. What?!
At that point I thought to myself, I will call the owner and see what he wants me to do. I found out the the bird was a male, and that he was exhausted and most likely dehydrated from the race and didn’t have the energy to make it home. He told me to keep feeding it as much as he wanted to eat and give it a bowl of water. He would eventually decide when he was ready and hopefully fly home.
It spent the whole week with me, I took hundreds of pictures of it, (you know I will paint him eventually). It stayed in the same general area around the back of my house near my pool pump, it would fly up and roost in the gutter at night. Whenever I went to check on it it would fly over to greet me and I made sure it had food and water at all times. Some days later in the week it would disappear for a few hours but would always be back in the evening. A couple times he took off and I thought he was heading for home only to show up again. I was texting the owner and decided I would wait until I didn’t see him for 24 hours before I would alert him again that I thought he was heading home.
On the Sunday after the Tuesday when he first showed up, he ate out of my hand that morning. Then later in the afternoon he disappeared again for a few hours. My husband and I were going to dinner that evening so I checked around 5:30pm before we left. He wasn’t there. We no sooner got in the car and I got a text from his owner with his picture saying he had made it the 26 miles home! He had a mini vacation at my house and then must have decided he wanted to continue his racing career and headend home.
So now comes the wild part of the story. I did some research on the spiritual significance of the pigeon and or dove. They have been used as symbols for centuries and represent love, family and home. As they always know their way back home, they were used to carry messages especially during war time to communicate messages secretly. Pigeons also represent sacrifice and if one is born under the the pigeon totem they are very devoted to their goals and to their loved ones and they will go to extremes to make sure loved ones are taken care of and goals are fulfilled. The pigeon is also a totem for motherhood. It can also symbolize a prophecy of good things to come. If a pigeon or dove flies into your life you may be asked to go within and release any emotional disharmony from the past or present. They can also help rid us of trauma stored within our cellular memory. Doing so we are able to receive healing on all levels, emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually.
The coloring on this pigeon is known as a red checkered. Which is why he reminded me of my mom who was a red head, and graying red hair looks exactly like him. This is why I called him Red. He showed up on a Tuesday and that Friday my brother and I sold and closed on my mom’s house, our child hood home back in Indiana. The last thing to be done before my mom’s estate is closed. Coincidence this bird picked me to take care of it? I think not.