Pigeons have long been drawn to cities, like New York, London, and Paris, because the buildings remind the “rock doves” of their replaced habitats. New York City alone is home to an estimated one million pigeons. They might be rats with wings to some, but despite the bad press, pigeons are just doves of a different color.
So why are doves symbolic of peace and prosperity, while the quite beautiful multi-colored pigeon is the bane of the city?
Hannah Waters, for the Audubon Society, writes of the historical service of the pigeon –did you know homing pigeons delivered messages to frontline fighters in WWI and WWII when it was too dangerous for people to relay the messages themselves? Yet recently, the name for this helpful bird was officially changed from “rock dove” to the more colloquial “rock pigeon.” Now, in 2018, they are getting ready to change it back. It is a matter of restoring dignity to the oft-slighted bird.
“Doves are symbols of peace, and pigeons are easy marks,” says ornithologist Ken Kaufmant “I like the dignity of it.”
Whatever your perception of the common pigeon is, we also think they deserve the same dignity of a dove. Pantone named a serene shade of blue gray “Pigeon Blue.” The New York City subway cars on the Q line, as well as the famous Williamsburg and Bushwick L, and others trains, have a similar calm blue color to their benches. We’ve matched the color of our Rōmb Smart backpacks to those subway seats and call it Pigeon Blue in honor of our familiar neighborhood dwellers. It may not catch on to simply call them doves, but at least we can say “pigeon” with pride.