Anyone who calls pigeons “vermin” has never visited The American Pigeon Museum & Library in Oklahoma City, Oklahama. What started as the American Homing Pigeon Institute in 1973 is now a sleek, modern, multimedia experience. Pigeon fanciers flock to the heartland to learn about these wondrous birds.
A short introductory film summarizes the relationship we’ve had with pigeons since the dawn of time: They’ve been used as symbols of peace and messengers of war, as commonly seen at weddings as they are funerals. Scientists are fascinated by their innate homing ability: Racing pigeons can be released up to 600 miles from where they live and still return the same day. There are many theories about how they navigate—from visual clues to low-frequency seismic waves—but nobody knows for sure. The museum’s shelves are stacked with antique pigeon racing clocks; dress forms are hung with member jackets from pigeon fancier clubs; and the walls showcase paintings of handsome fowl.
Of course, a visit to the APM&L wouldn’t be complete without meeting a few of these docile creatures. During opening hours, a half dozen or so birds are brought down from the museum loft to greet visitors. Under the guidance of museum staff, you can hold Simpson the Homer pigeon, Mary the Satinette, Michelangelo the Archangel, and Holy the Roller (see what they did there?). Some of the pigeons have curly feathers; others have “popped collars” or bushily feathered feet, just like Clydesdales. Not to totally geek out, but to totally geek out: They’re a joy to pet. 🐦❤️
The museum is open Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. or by appointment. Admission is free.
2300 NE 63rd St., Oklahoma City, OK; 405-478-5155.