Focal Point

Feathers matters

In Salalah, in Dhofar more cages are appearing on roofs to house pigeons. And then I am not talking about the ‘Bruce’s Green Pigeon,’ – the Ethiopian mystery bird – that specializes on consuming the fruits of just one species of fig tree and a fairly common breeding summer visitor to foothills and parks in Dhofar.

No, the pigeons I saw in some animal shops in Salalah are for showing off at fancy pigeon shows and for home breeding. The pigeons come from all over the world, from Pakistan, Syria, India, USA, Iran, Israël, Holland…

The phenomenon of pigeon breeding and trading in Oman is quiet new. In April 2010 in the capital city of the Sultanate, the ‘ Muscat Exhibition of Fancy Pigeons,’ the first of this kind, was inaugurated. The exhibition displayed all kinds of fancy pigeons, a competition on pigeon species, a release of homing pigeons and bidding to buy fancy pigeons in the Sultanate. The exhibition organized by Gulf College had all kinds of fancy pigeons, a release of homing pigeons, a competition and a bidding to buy fancy pigeons in the Sultanate on display. The exhibition aims to highlight concern for the environment and wildlife, besides supporting amateurs of fancy pigeons breeding. The formation of a Bird Breeding Association will be under way. Stamps dedicated to exotic birds appeared already in 1973 in Oman.

In Islam, the pigeon family in general are respected and favoured because they are believed to have assisted the final prophet of Islam,Muhammad, in distracting his enemies outside the cave of Thaw’r in the great Hijra. Records reveal that pigeons were domesticated by man 5000 years ago as messengers – thus man and pigeons shared a very close relationship until the invention of postal services. In India, in Lalbagh, in southern Bangalore,  a garden was commissioned by a Muslim, Mysore King called Haider Ali. In that garden he build an amazing red cylindrical structure, a pigeon house.


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