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Homing: On Pigeons, Dwellings and Why We Return

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  53 ratings  ·  12 reviews
Audible Audio, Unabridged
Published June 13th 2019 by John Murray
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Jun 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Homing explores the affinity many people have with this unique breed of bird and what they can effectively tell us about our philosophical yearning to belong and having a place to call our own to return to in order to recharge. It is so much more profound than just a book on birds, and one thing is for certain this will change your view of them the next time you encounter them in the street or by the seaside. It's an information-rich, thought-provoking read and is part memoir of author Jon Day ...more
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The ubiquitous pigeon is an amazing bird when bred for racing. Its average body temperature is slightly higher than other warm-blooded species, making them more resistant to pathogens. It is one of the few creatures to recognise themselves in a mirror. Nature's fastest bird accelerating from 0-60 mph in under 2 seconds and can comfortably fly at 50mph all day long. These seemingly unknown facts litter this highly readable account of pigeon racing, a hobby sadly in decline. Jon Day also poses the ...more
Tim Roast
Sep 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In another world where I had unlimited time and energy I'd keep birds. But in this world I am happy to watch TV programmes on them such as the BBC Timeshift episode "Flights of Fancy: Pigeons and the British" (which was fascinating and featured a good scene of a liberation taking place as a race started) and read books about them like this one called "Homing".

"Homing" follows the author's first "year with the pigeons" as he becomes a pigeon fancier. His first year is spent being fascinated by
Paula Maguire
Feb 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book which was featured on 'A good read' It was beautifully written and chronicles the author's relationship, getting a 'proper' job, moving to a new home in East London, and having children. He decides to buy some racing pigeons following a childhood fascination, in an effort to plant himself and make a home in his new, not particularly welcoming surroundings. Through him we learn so much about the history of racing pigeons, the pigeon racing culture all told in chapters that are ...more
Fiona Stocker
Dec 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The kind of book that feels like a precious discovery. Erudite, engaging, and with insights into a whole other world you knew nothing about beforehand.
Jon Day writes about his developing love of the ancient tradition of pigeon fancying and racing. But as with the best books of this ilk, there’s so much more to it than that. He extrapolates the theme of ‘homing’ to look at what ‘home’ means, why it’s important, how our sense of home develops and why we return to home.
The chapters alternate
Audrey Baughman
Jan 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Never before did I know that racing pigeons was a sport. "Homing: On Pigeons, Dwellings and Why We Return" is a beautiful account of the sport. Day juxtaposes the innate ability of pigeons finding their way home, with his own experiences of developing his life, rearing children, and creating a home for himself and his family.
Day's fascination with pigeons began as a child, when he and his friend helped nurse a pigeon named Psycho back to health. When Psycho ends up flying away, Day is
Kerry Hullett
Oct 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Had no idea that pigeons were such an interesting/intelligent bird and found this enlightening. However, I did find some of the detail about holding them and cleaning up their 'shit' a bit repulsive. This is really a series of essays on home, environment, family life etc written in the form of 'flights of fancy'. Most fascinating was that the working class fanciers of London outskirts took him to their heart despite the fact that he turned up to one of their meetings wearing an artists smock. ...more
Vicki Husband
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Day manages to convey his fascination with the remarkable pigeon in very clear, readable prose. The book intersperses a personal exploration of family and the meaning of 'home' with examples from art and literature, alongside his journey of learning to keep and train racing pigeons. I've always had a curiosity about these birds, and their fanciers; this answered all my questions. A hugely enjoyable read.
Peadar Cassidy
Oct 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
Interesting story about one man's obsession with pigeons but I did feel a bit sorry for his wife, having to put up with it
Jun 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Enchanting elegy on what it means to feel “home’’. Also, a fascinating insight into the world of bird fanciers.
Dec 16, 2019 marked it as to-buy
Recommended by editor 2019 picks
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A great personal story as well as an understanding of how pigeons think and live.
William Weir
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“In The Goshawk, his diary of an attempt to train a bird of prey during the run-up to the First World War, T. H. White celebrated the pigeon’s innate docility, even while he hunted them to feed to his hawk. ‘What a peace-loving but prudent race they were’, White wrote, ‘not predatory and yet not craven. Of all the birds, I thought, they must be the best citizens, the most susceptible to the principles of the League of Nations.” 0 likes
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