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Pigeons and doves have a long history with the Olympics. From 700 BC to 300 AD homing pigeons were used in the Olympic games. In fact, the quickest way to share the results were by homing pigeon.

Doves were released as a symbol of peace after the cauldron was lit at the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympic Games in 1986. This became a tradition from 1920. At the 1988 Seoul Games the order was reversed and many doves were inadvertently burnt alive, causing an outcry from animal welfare charities, resulting in the end of the tradition.

At the London 2012 Olympic Games the message of peace was symbolised by the ‘release’ of the Dove bikes: 75 riders who rode around the stadium ring wearing large dove wings:

For more information please visit: Opening Ceremony: The secrets behind the ‘dove bikes’


I know I cannot avoid it, I know it will be upon us, but I’m mostly uninterested in the upcoming Olympics. However, one piece of news about the 2012 Olympics caught my eye:

London 2012: Olympic dove plane unveiled

3 April 2012 Last updated at 15:34

British Airways has repainted the first of nine A319s with a dove design to mark the London 2012 Olympics.

The artwork by designer Pascal Anson was the result of a contest run by the company and judged by artist Tracey Emin.

It will be seen for the first time on BA’s 1420 Heathrow to Copenhagen flight on Tuesday.

From: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-17600839

The designer Pascal Anson, says that “He chose the dove because as well as being a symbol of peace and social unity, it was used in ancient Olympics as a messenger to send Games reports to outlying villages, and the bird also played a role in Olympics ceremonies such as that at the last London Games in 1948.”

In the video the reporter states that “They’re calling them celebratory aircrafts for the London 2012 games, describing the dove as ‘sweet, lovely and peaceful’.” (Then he ruins it by saying, “Would you agree?”)

It’s nice to see the dove is still being championed as a symbol of peace. Since there is no scientific difference between a dove and a pigeon, will we be able to convince the masses to view the feral pigeon the same as the dove? :) Maybe we should rename all pigeons as “doves” and peoples perception of them will change? What do you think?

More about the new dove planes:

3 April 2012 Last updated at 12:50

London 2012: British Airways Olympics dove plane unveiled

By Michael Hirst
BBC 2012

BA plane painted with London 2012 dove design
It took a 10-strong team 950 man hours to paint the A319 – which carries 132 passengers and is one of the smaller passenger planes in BA’s fleet

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Well, actually, it’s a plane painted to look like a bird.

British Airways has repainted the first of nine A319s with a dove design to mark the London 2012 Olympics. The artwork by Brighton-based designer Pascal Anson will be seen for the first time on BA’s 1420 Heathrow to Copenhagen flight on Tuesday.

The design is the result of a contest, run by the company with the aim of promoting British talent in the run up to the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Turner prize-nominated artist Tracey Emin was on the judging panel which picked Mr Anson’s design from hundreds of entries last July, and she has mentored the Kingston University design tutor throughout the project.

Inspired by planes he saw flying in and out of Gatwick during his commute, Anson said that as a three-dimensional designer, he wanted to turn something ordinary into something extraordinary, while playing with people’s perceptions of flying objects.

“I wanted to do something that would make people stop and think differently about what they were looking at,” he told the BBC. “I’ve often looked up at aircraft landing and wondered if it’s a bird or a plane, and the idea developed from there.”

Scale of a dove

He chose the dove because as well as being a symbol of peace and social unity, it was used in ancient Olympics as a messenger to send Games reports to outlying villages, and the bird also played a role in Olympics ceremonies such as that at the last London Games in 1948.

Pascal Anton with Tracey Emin Tracy Emin mentored Pascal Anson throughout the project

Although Anson wanted to avoid creating a photographic representation of a bird, he did want the design to be dove-like, which meant BA for the first time has painted the whole of the plane’s livery, rather than just its tail-fin.

This created both design and artistic challenges, in terms of scale – as an A319 is 500 times larger than a dove – and surface, in terms of trying to get the soft lines of the dove’s feathers onto the hard metallic surface of the plane.

He wanted to use a metallic colour but metallic paints are not allowed on aircraft as they interfere with radar signal so a new mica resin was mixed to give the bright gold finish – a colour which the team have dubbed “dove gold”.

BA’s operations manager for external appearance, David Barnes, said the job was the most complex his team had undertaken – both because of the intricacy of the design, and the fact that it encompassed the whole plane.

Emin praised the completed work at the plane’s unveiling on Tuesday, saying she liked the way it “brings back back the excitement of travel”.

“I will constantly be looking up every time I hear a plane fly over,” she said. “You never know, maybe I will turn into a plane-spotter.”

From: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17565838


There are a few things we simply cannot do in peace because of Georgie and Elmo (our imprinted, disabled, feral pigeons).

We cannot:

  • drink a hot beverage
  • eat crisps, popcorn, toast or anything green
  • read or do anything on the floor

You may be wondering why? Well, for the simple reason that our pigeons will not leave us alone if we do the above mentioned things.

As soon as Georgie hears me stirring any hot beverage (that telltale sound of spoon tinkling against a ceramic mug) she starts dipping her beak down as if she is drinking from the mug. When she realises that the hot drink is nowhere near her, she locates me and tries to get to the drink for a sip, which, of course, is not a good thing for her and which I prevent from happening at all costs. However, it does make for a rather silly dance as I try to sip the drink at an awkward angle with Georgie on my shoulder dipping her beak to do so too. If I push her away she becomes angry and delivers some sharp pecks before she resumes her beak dipping behaviour. She never behaves like this when I’m drinking something cold.

I cannot eat crisps alone because the rustling sound of a crisps packet must mean “Come over and peck at me” in pigeon. Without fail, every time I open a crisps packet at home the sound of that action drives Georgie mad and she jumps over to me to take her share. Now I know that excess salt is bad for any creature so I try my best not to let Georgie eat crisps, however, once again this proves difficult when you have an insistent pigeon on your lap pecking away at the packet and your hands. I often have to put Georgie on the floor while I try to enjoy the crisps in peace, however, more often than not, I have to let my pigeon peck for a while at my salty fingers to get her salt kick (if not, I have one grumpy pigeon on my hands).

Toast is another favourite food item of Georgie’s and it seems she can smell it when it’s on my plate because she’s always there to try to steal a slice, usually with Elmo not far behind.

Elmo has a popcorn addiction. Georgie used to love popcorn too but not anymore (for unknown reasons). My husband and I cannot enjoy a bowl of popcorn in peace when watching a movie because Elmo insists on joining us. We have to break a few pieces up and let Elmo peck at them on the sofa just to keep him busy while we enjoy the bulk of the popcorn. Elmo is also attracted to green food items, spinach and lettuce being his favourite.

Regarding not being able to read or do something on the floor, this is all down to noisy Elmo. Imagine this: you fancy a different scene so you sit on the floor and start playing Solitaire with cards or lay down some magazines to browse through. All of a sudden you hear a thump noise as a pigeon lands on the floor and then makes his way over. You have nothing against a curious pigeon, such behaviour simply shows how wonderful the species is, but you do have something against said pigeon standing smack-bang on top of the cards or magazines. Right in the middle. Looking up at you with, “Whatcha doing?” eyes. He may then start to peck at the items he’s standing on (Photo examples: Elmo boy photos).

Here’s some photos I took this evening:

P1070425

Our sofa has some storage space under it. Elmo is checking out the new sights from high up.

P1070428

Elmo boy

P1070430

Georgie trying her best not to be noticed (since she hates cameras).