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The Secret Life of Pigeons

;The Secret Life of Pigeons on CBC`s The Nature of Things;
(November 18, 2014 – Toronto, ON) Chances are your opinion of pigeons was formed by a quip in the 1980 Woody Allen film, Stardust Memories. Allen`s character, Sandy, in response to something another character says about a pigeon (“Hey, that`s so pretty”), says, “Geez…no, it`s not pretty at all. They’re…they’re…they’re rats with wings.” That`s been the prevailing attitude toward pigeons ever since. But now, writer and director Scott Harper and CBC`s The Nature of Things hopes to change your mind with a new documentary titled, The Secret Life of Pigeons.

Despite their incredible gifts and impressive contribution to human history, the pigeons that live in the city today don‘t get a lot of love. For the most part, we look right through them. When they do get noticed, it’s often for being dim witted, dirty nuisances. But as the first animal to be domesticated on earth, and one with a remarkable ability to adapt to urban life, pigeons have a compelling story to tell. And it`s a drama filled, steeped-in-history, amazing story.

Pigeons you see in parks and on ledges all over town, are the descendants of domestic birds that were once bred for food, as messengers, to race or simply for show. Today, their gritty urban lives are spent simply trying to evade peril; speeding cars, hungry hawks, and pest control companies bent on their extermination. Because they rely on scraps, they’re always just one step ahead of starvation. With the odds stacked against them, and to survive where they’re not wanted, pigeons rely on a combination of charity from a few and their own incredible smarts to hang on.

The Secret Life of Pigeons delves further into their behaviour through the scientists that know them best. At the University of Quebec, Luc-Alain Giraldeau shows us how pigeons cleverly distribute themselves over a given space to optimize their food resources, effectively dividing it up so that each bird gets the same amount.

The Nature of Things will also show pigeons in a way you’ve never seen; in the air, on the street and in the nest. By placing the first ever HD camera onboard a pigeon, you’ll get an incredible, genuine bird’s eye view. We look in on the fascinating subculture of pigeon racing – a favorite pastime for royals, celebrities and working people all over the world. The documentary also enters the realm of the pigeon fancier, the breeders that create exotic and bizarre new strands in a tradition with roots in Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

The Secret Life of Pigeons is directed, written and produced by Scott Harper and his company Sunday Night Entertainment and Executive Produced by Bob Culbert. The Secret Life of Pigeons was produced in association with CBC, with assistance from Canada Media Fund.

It`s World Broadcast Premiere on CBC Television’s The Nature of Things Thursday, happens this Thursday, November 20, 2014 at 8:00 p.m. (8:30 NT)