Home Hudson County Here’s Why You Should Appreciate the Hoboken + Jersey City Pigeons

Here’s Why You Should Appreciate the Hoboken + Jersey City Pigeons

by Via Rutkowski
Attain Medspa
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Let’s be honest, in the realm of city wildlife, pigeons are definitely the main characters. These misunderstood birds have been coexisting with humans for nearly 10,000 years. In fact, it’s humans we have to thank for pigeons being a part of our urban communities to begin with. It’s estimated that these highly intelligent birds were brought to present-day New York and New Jersey over 400 years ago. Humans once domesticated and relied on pigeons for serious duties such as farming and delivering messages but they are now quick to be brushed off as “pests”. Read on for some local pigeon trivia.

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Hoboken + Jersey City Are Hotspots For Pigeon-Watching

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Even after spending just a few moments in a city, it’s easy to see that pigeons like to be around people and are rarely seen apart from them. After all, we go way back… 10,000 years back. In Hoboken and Jersey City the largest pigeon hotspots are to no surprise closest to the people, particularly by Exchange Place in Jersey City, along the length of the Hoboken waterfront, and around most parks and PATH Stations. And while in 2022 Hoboken implemented a wildlife feeding ban, it’s still ok to love them from afar.

pigeon photo credit via hg

Pigeons are very social creatures with docile temperaments and an appreciation for affection. Pigeons can even be seen intermingling with other species of birds throughout the area such as ducks, geese, sparrows, and other small birds. Aside from their wildly sharp sense of direction, pigeons also have A+ recognition skills and can remember human faces and interactions. So next time you pass by a pigeon on the street treat them with kindness and remember the history we have together: they just might remember you.

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Read More: Did Geese Come From Barnacles? Hudson County’s Historical Connection to This Myth

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Back in November of 2023, The Hoboken Girl Team went on a birdwatching tour with Hoboken resident, teacher, and bird lover, Jeff Train. He taught us that pigeons were originally called “rock doves”. You might be surprised to learn that pigeons and doves come from the same family of birds called “Columbidae”. While very closely related, doves hold beautiful symbolic meanings such as peace, grace, and honor, yet pigeons are not shown nearly as much respect. We thought it was time to shine a light on these underappreciated birds that have become one of the most abundant in the state. And let’s face it — we interact with them every day so let’s show them some love.

The World’s Most Famous Pigeon Retired to New Jersey

While it’s no secret that New Jersey is home to several celebrities, would you believe that among these stars was a famous pigeon? Homing pigeon Cher Ami, which means “dear friend” in French,  earned his title as the “world’s most famous pigeon” after a dozen successful missions in World War I, some of which were life-saving. Cher Ami had the massive task of delivering important messages through battlefields and unbelievable conditions. During Cher Ami’s biggest mission, his urgent message delivery saved the lives of 194 men. After being injured in battle, Cher Ami retired to Fort Monmouth, New Jersey where he lived out the rest of his life until 1919. Cher Ami was so special that he was preserved in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. According to the Smithsonian, 100 years after Cher Ami’s passing, in 2019 the brave bird was awarded the “Animals in War and Peace Medal of Bravery” for his life-saving role in World War I.

 


 

A Pigeon-Themed Art Installation Lives on Washington Street in Hoboken

In 2020, the Hoboken Arts Advisory Committee created the “Art Box Mural Project” to emphasize the importance of equality and inclusion while lifting the spirits of residents during the pandemic. One of the most eye-catching utility boxes is by Greg Brehm, the Hoboken artist behind the vibrant, pigeon-centric piece titled Home Sweet Hoboken located at 801 Washington Street.

pigeon photo credit via hg

Greg told The Hoboken Girl in 2020, “I turned my box into a mini Hoboken row-house and filled it with pigeons, instead of people. I made it really bright and festive. If it makes people smile, it’s good. If a few recognize that it isn’t just a mural of a silly house with colorful pigeons, but also a celebration of a home filled with family who is all brilliantly different and fundamentally the same, well, that would be particularly nice”. Greg later went on to create a pop-up art installation called Operation Sit-In in 2021 with an interactive map of pigeon art rooted in New Jersey history. The pop-up has since come to a close but Greg’s work on Washington Street is still present and photo-worthy as ever. Also known as @pigeon.ops on Instagram, Greg’s website pigeonops.com says “Hoboken is filled with everyday folks. We’re everyday pigeons.”

Jersey City is Home to Multiple Pigeon Murals

Jersey City is home to dozens of breathtaking murals thanks to the Jersey City Mural Arts Program. According to the program’s website this Mayor’s Office Initiative is working to connect talented mural artists with property owners “as part of an innovative beautification program that reduces graffiti, engages local residents, and is transforming Jersey City into an outdoor art gallery.” A few of these magnificent murals include pigeons.

See More: The Montclair Hawkwatch: The Ultimate Local Spot to See Hawks

Located at 310 12th Street in Jersey City is a colorful mural titled Pigeons Milling About by artist Jeff Huntington (AKA Jahru). This masterpiece was completed in 2021 and features a captivating abstract take on the pigeons we know and love.

Up in Jersey City Heights sits another pigeon mural located at 483 Tonnelle Avenue. This grand double-mural titled Tyson’s Corner was created by Jersey City-based artist, Will Power. This mural depicts images of Mike Tyson and his famed affection for pigeons who were also his pets. Separately, in 2018 artist, Adele Renault painted a stunning head-on portrait of a pigeon alongside a residential building located at 479 Tonnelle Avenue in Jersey City, just steps away from “Tyson’s Corner”. Renault also previously painted a massive mural at 306 Manhattan Avenue of a New Jersey pigeon named, Baby Girl who won a race that spanned 366 miles. But the wall the mural once called home has since been knocked down and became the lot for an auto-body business. Residents took to Reddit to note that the remains of the previous mural are still visible.read more button

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