to stage the World Racing Pigeon Grand Prix next year.
It is a
big honour and comes after some notable successes by breeders from the island.
also "Peristeraphilia" or "Colombofilia" in Spanish, is
a word made up of "Columbas" (Latin for pigeon) and "Philos"
(Greek for lover).
It is about
the art, the science and the rules to develop and increase the natural capacity
of orientation and the flying resistance of the pigeon.
is only used for the "fanciers" who nurse and train the messenger
or racing pigeon. They are "Columbophilos", a special name that distinguishes
them from those who just nurse and keep any pigeon in general.
history have used different kinds of messenger pigeons. It was probably a pigeon
that flew back to Noah's Ark with a green olive tree branch in its beak (though
it is a white dove that is nowadays recognised as the peace symbol).
pharaohs used them five thousand years ago to communicate with their vast empire.
The Greeks used pigeons to communicate the names of the Olympic Games champions
to all their cities. The Romans legions took them through France, Great Britain,
Spain, North Africa, the Middle East, etc., leaving a few in every setting and
camp, so their information could reach Rome in a matter of hours, when it would
take days or even weeks by any other way.
historical records of Marc Anthony using them in the battle of Módena in the
year 43 BC. But it was as early as 1171 BC when Malik el Adel Nour-Eddyn Mahmoud,
Sultan of Alepo and Egypt, was considered to be the creator of the first regular
messenger pigeons have been involved in most wars and historical events in this
part of the world and also used as a regular post service in the Middle East
cities. In the year 1280, in Cairo, there were more then two thousand messenger
pigeons maintaining regular communication with Alexandria, Damieta, and Gaza
and from there to Damascus, Jerusalem and Baghdad. They were also used by the
Arabs to battle with the Crusaders and against the Christians in Mainland Spain.
Flanders wars of the sixteen century, in the siege of Paris in 1594, in the
French Revolution, etc. History is full of citations and anecdotes about the
very important role that messenger pigeons have been involved with.
only for war: sailors and merchants of any epoch sent pigeons in advance to
announce their arrival. In 1815, after Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo, a messenger
pigeon brought this news to Mr. Rothschild in London, fifty hours before the
British government knew it. This was enough time for him to buy a big amount
of public options, very cheaply because of the war and to make one of the biggest
fortunes of the first half of the nineteenth century.
telegraph was invented, it looked like it was the end for the services of the
messenger pigeon. But again when Paris was besieged in 1870, pigeon power was
the only way that the Parisians could communicate with the rest of the country
and over 60,000 messages were sent by them. This was also the first time that
microphotography was used to reduce the size of the messages.
War One, there were over 30,000 messenger pigeons in the French army. One of
them was called "Cher ami" and passed into history. This "Dear
Friend" (this is what its French name means) was a really good friend to
an American battalion trapped in between two fires and being bombed by error
with their own guns. There was no radio or telephone available, so, the battalion
commander sent this pigeon with the message to cease fire and the right situation
of the enemy. The poor bird was wounded by the enemy fire, it was bleeding,
almost dead when it reached the allied lines, the message in a little tube hanging
from its broken leg, but a lot of American lives were saved by its action.
War Two, there were so many services and actions done by this amazing bird,
that we would need a thick book to mention only part of them. They were sent
with parachutes from planes flying very high, in special cages that opened automatically
with a little explosion when they were two hundred metres above ground.
Some were released from the seabed by submarines in special capsules,
driving in special lorries in all the battle fronts, flaying day and night,
with strong winds, snow, rain or fog, like the "Pony Express" etc.
Only from England more then 17,000 were sent to the enemy territory and to the
French resistance, 1,700 of them came back. These birds were trained since 1941
in great secrecy somewhere in England by British "columbophilos".
One of these birds called "William of Ornare" flew from Arnhem (Holland)
260 miles in four hours and twenty-five minutes in a special message mission.
about three hundred species of the "Columba" family in the world.
In Europe, three of the wild species are the most important, "Columba palumbus"
the biggest of them, "Columba oenas" a little bit smaller and "Columba
livia" of the same size as the one before, also the one to adapt itself
better to life in the cities.
racing pigeon, the Belgian pigeon, because it was created in Belgium, is a relatively
new species. The first news we have of them is around 1815. Five years later
there are already records of pigeon racing. No-one is one hundred per cent sure
of its origins; its creators never told their secrets, most probably quite a
few mixtures had to be done to get where we are, but we know that all domestic
pigeons come originally from the wild European "Columba livia".
then there were several species used as "messengers" being created
in Belgium, the wild and very well built "Bizet" is the ancestor of
a good number of the actual domestic pigeons, the "Culbutants" almost
extinguished today, the "Gravates" smaller and very fast, the "Camus"
completely disappeared at present time, the "Persian messenger" and
the "English carrier". Most probably all these species were used to
create the "Liege pigeon" of small size, rounded head, short beak,
fast and persistent, and the "Antwerp pigeon" bigger, more resistant
and stronger. From these two races, mixed together, the actual racing pigeon
was created, the "Gantt pigeon" of about 500 grams for the male and
450 grams for the female.
good "columbophilo" breeds a real champion, he forms his own stock,
and his new pigeons will be called after his name, so we have the Hansenne stock
(he was considered the first "King of the Columbophilos"),
the Janssens stock, the Vanschingem stock, the Speder stock, etc.
the actual racing pigeons and the modern competition, can be considered a Belgian
creation, where this art-science-sport can be considered too as the National
sport, with more then 160,000 licences for "columbophilos" in actual
the first club or society of "Columbophilia" was founded in Barcelona,
"Sociedad Colombofila de Catalunya" in the year 1890, with Diego de
la Llave as president. The army, the commandant Pedro Vives y Vich, as president
of it, a real pigeon expert, in 1894 founded the Spanish columbophilos federation
"Federación Colombofila Española". "Sociedad Colombofila de Mallorca"
in 1899 was the first in the Balearic Islands. In Ibiza in 1928, "Sociedad
Colombofila Mensajera La Ibicenca" was the fifth of the Balearic clubs
to be founded. Two new ones have been founded in this Island since then. In
following weeks we shall be proud to present them to you.
Pigeons have a very special relevance and a relative old tradition in the Balearic
Islands. Joan Torres Roselló, (Tarba) Joan Prats Ferrer, both from the "Sociedad
Colombofila Portmany" of Sant Antoni (Eivissa) have been Spanish champions
in some of the categories, Prats Ferrer is the actual Spanish champion, Ramón
Palau Serra from "Club Colombofilo Eivissa" was third in a World championship
celebrated in Mexico, his pigeons have also contributed to win an International
tittle for Spain, as well as several National titles and plenty of other important
awards. Within the following editions we shall explain all about the different
categories and championships.
well gained reputation brought the chance and the honour of celebrating the
next Racing Pigeon World Grand Prix 2002 here, in the island of Eivissa (local
name for Ibiza). I am sure that our enthusiastic and very much "columbophilos"
experts will make a real success of this magnificent event. So far, I want to
thank them very much for the big amount of help and information that I have
from them, and for what is already a big success "Eivissa 2002", "World
capital of Racing Pigeons".
near future there will be a website http://www.eivissagrandprix.com
especially for this event and all the information of the "columbophilos"
Demolition News to Ruffle
to congratulate and thank as well GEN-GOB (Grup de Estudis de sa Natura-Grup
Ornitologic Balear) especially its president Joan Carles Palerm and the speaker
Mariano Marí for their courage and the extraordinary job they are doing for
the ecological legality here in Eivissa.
the tribunals in Palma de Mallorca proved them right over the lawsuit they had
versus the Sant Antoni Town Hall, about the legality of a big villa built on
top of a hill in a protected area (ANEI - Area Natural de Especial Interes).
The Town Hall has been condemned to demolish this house two years since it was
built, even though there was a big opposition at the time and the house was
denounced by GEN when it was starting to be built.
the second time that a similar thing has happened. There's a second house condemned
by the tribunals to be demolished because of its illegal licence given from
this institution. If demolition has to go ahead, the cost to the town, paid
with public money, will be about 8,414,500 Euros (1,400,000,000 pesetas) as
compensation to the owners.