If you’ve spent much time around pigeons you’ll know that the people who love them are as varied as the pigeons themselves are, and it’s no different when it comes to celebrity pigeon fanciers either.
Below are 7 famous pigeons fanciers from both the past and present:
1. The Queen Of England
The Queen’s love of horses and corgis is well documented however it is also true that she is a big fan of pigeons.
She is said to own around 200 pigeons which are all kept at Sandringham House in Norfolk.
The Queen’s relationship with pigeons is not without controversy though.
Her Majesty’s pigeons are frequently involved in races.
In 2020, 8 of her pigeons were sent to compete in the biggest annual pigeon race, the South African Million Dollar Pigeon Race (SAMDPR) also known as the Olympics of pigeon racing.
Upon arrival in South Africa, all birds at risk of spreading diseases have to undergo a 30-day quarantine period.
An investigation also revealed that only 5 of the 42 pigeons that the Queen sent to South Africa over the last six years survived.
2. Mike Tyson
Former heavyweight boxing champion of the world known as ‘the baddest man on the planet’ allegedly once knocked out a garbage man for throwing away one of his pet pigeons that had died.
Whether or not that particular story is true Mike Tyson’s love affair with pigeons is well documented.
Over the course of his life he has kept thousands of pigeons, most of them in a giant loft in New York.
Tysons relationship with pigeons goes back to when he was just 9 years old.
In fact, his first ever fight was over a pigeon.
Tyson had told his friends that he had a pigeon living in his room.
News spread and soon ‘friends’ were visiting him to try and steal the bird.
Someone finally did manage to steal the bird and sadly the bird died in their hands which led to Tyson fighting the individual responsible.
3. George Foreman
Mike Tyson isn’t the only former heavy weight boxing champion of the world to enjoy pigeons.
Foreman, who now works as a Christian minister and promotes his hugely successful George Foreman grills, was known to enjoy keeping pigeons.
He loves the idea of pigeons, the freedom that they represent, how when you let them go they come back to you.
4. Nikola Tesla
Nikola Tesla is an engineer best known for his contributions to the design of the alternating current (AC).
What is less well documented is his love of pigeons.
He used to visit the parks every day to feed pigeons he also fed them at his hotel window and frequently would nurse injured pigeons back to good health.
He once spent over $2,000 to care for a bird while her broken wing and leg healed.
Tesla, who never married, also claimed he had once fallen in love with a pigeon.
He said: “I have been feeding pigeons, thousands of them for years.
But there was one, a beautiful bird, pure white with light grey tips on its wings; that one was different.
It was a female. I had only to wish and call her and she would come flying to me.
I loved that pigeon as a man loves a woman, and she loved me.
As long as I had her, there was a purpose to my life.”Tesla Universe
5. Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso grew up around pigeons and spent a lot of time painting pigeons over the course of his life.
Picasso’s father, José Ruiz Blasco, kept rock pigeons and spent a lot of time painting them himself and teaching Pablo how to do the same.
This love of pigeons stuck with Pablo throughout his life.
When he was in school he would spend entire classes sketching and would even occasionally bring a pigeon into school to draw.
Later in life, much of his work depicts balcony views featuring pigeons.
6. Walt Disney
Walt Disney kept thousands of Belgian Pletinckx pigeons back in the 60’s, they were all housed in Disneyland California.
Disney World Florida also has a pigeon loft.
Sadly the Disney pigeon lofts were closed down a few years ago due to hawk attacks which was obviously distressing for visitors to witness not to mention distressing for the pigeons themselves!
Walt Disney even sponsored the California State Racing Pigeon Organization resulting in their pigeon flying award being given the name ‘The Disney Award’.
Walt Disney was also awarded the National Pigeon Association Levi Service Award for his film “Pigeon Fly Home”.
7. Samuel Pepys
Samuel Pepys was a famed diarist who gave us a first-hand insight into the great fire of London and what life was like in the 1600s.
His diary frequently mentions pigeons with one entry talking about how scorched pigeons were falling out of the sky during the great fire of London.
Pepys commentaries and observations about pigeons over the years reveal how he had a deep love for them and fascination with them.