Inspiration Wildlife

I’m a pigeon fancier

4 Dec 2010

I’m a pigeon fancier in the making, that doesn’t mean I fancy pigeons in some perverted way, it just means that I appreciate and admire them. I like to watch them walk and fly and listen to them coo. As Gary Marsh, a pigeon fancier that owns a pet shop a stones throw away from my house would say ‘They chill you out’.

Gary Marsh with his flock of pigeons
Gary Marsh with his flock of pigeons

Pigeons are really intelligent. There’s a reason the pigeon population continues to grow and this is because of the increasing amount of feeding opportunities available in the city and because pigeons have great memory and eye sight. If a food stand, restaurant or individual regularly discards food or directly feeds them, they will remember and come back again and again. Perched on the roof tops they can spot a feeding opportunity and because they are social creatures, they share this news with each other, that’s why pigeons usually come in flocks.






Gary has offered me some space to keep my own pigeons
Gary has offered me some space to keep my own pigeons

So what has this got to do with art?

At the moment I’m not quite sure but I’m having fun.

Pigeons (especially the feral ones) are easy to spot, unlike other rarer birds on a bird watchers list, pigeon numbers are in abundance.

I’m collecting data every Wednesday morning on pigeon numbers and colour morphs and sharing this with a composer to experiment with producing a musical composition and also with a science lab in New York to support their ongoing research into why pigeons exist in so many colours.

Im attending National Pigeon Association shows in the East Midlands to pick the brains of the most committed pigeon fanciers I can find. I’ve been very lucky to discover that I don’t have to travel to see fancy pigeons, as Gary Marsh who owns a pet shop has a shed full of the things!

I’m off to France for an artist residency at CAMAC, an art, science and technology organisation in April 2011 and intend to use all the data and information gathered this year and leading up to April to support with the production of new work.

At the moment I feel that I want to deepen my knowledge of pigeon fancying and possibly go as far as keeping my own pigeons so that I can develop a relationship with them, to gather sound and video recordings to support the creation of an audio tour or installation. I would also like to explore the possibility of attaching messages, CCTV cameras and GPS tracking devices to pigeons, to build up a visual of where they choose to fly and try to understand how they navigate on long journeys.

More images for Project Pigeonwatch

Lucy Stevens’ artistic practice examines the acoustic ecology of the natural environment, using field recording, digital illustration, performance and printmaking as a tool to visualise sound produced by wildlife, weather and other natural phenomena.

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