If you happen to visit Venice's world famous St. Marks Square in the next few months, you may notice something unusual. Scattered amongst the thousands of drab gray pigeons putzing around the square, are about 35, brightly colored ones. However, these birds that are attracting world-wide attention are not miracles of nature, but works of 'art' created by humans.
The colored pigeons of Venice are Swiss artist Julian Charriere and German Photographer Julius von Bismark's contribution to the city's 13th Architecture Biennale that runs from August 29th to November 25th, 2012 and provides a venue for world famous architects and designers to showcase new projects.
First exhibited in Copenhagen earlier this year, the pigeon project that the artists call Some Pigeons Are More Equal Than Others, entails using an airbrushing tool to dye the feathers of the birds in a variety of colors ranging from bright green to fuchsia pink and even a shocking orange!
In order to get the color onto these elusive birds, the artists created a special pigeon apparatus - A bird trapper with a conveyer belt - Once the pigeon steps inside, it is instantly sprayed and then released back into the open, to mingle with their comparatively drab-looking counterparts.
The artists say that the birds are not harmed at all during the process and since pigeons are color-blind, not treated any differently by the other members of their species. They do believe however, that making them look more attractive is beneficial to the birds since they are better regarded by humans, who normally perceive pigeons to be a nuisance.
Judging from the positive reaction these colorful birds are getting, the artists seem to have a point. However, there are many that believe we should leave the birds in their natural state even if most of us don't approve of how they look! This of course, is not the first time animals have been dyed for the pleasure of humans. In New Zealand a farmer has colored his entire flock of sheep pink to attract more tourists and there are probably many more instances like that in other parts of the world. What do you think? Should we change the appearance of things that are not attractive to us just because we can? Be sure to let us know, by adding your comments below.
Often referred to as 'rats with wings', pigeons have a bad reputation largely because they seem to do whatever they feel like - poop on every clean surface they can find including humans, not to mention try to steal your food at every chance they can get. The fact that they are a little drab looking, does not help either.
However, while they may appear to be a nuisance to us now, they were once a very useful human ally - Known for their amazing sense of direction and speed, pigeons were one of the most reliable ways of sending messages during World War 1 - So much so, that they were even awarded medals of valor. Also, it turns out that that these annoying birds are quite intelligent and seem to pack in a powerful memory in that small brain.
And as it turns out, not all pigeons are bad looking either - The world-famous African Green pigeons feature a permanent green plumage and are gorgeous to look at - Unfortunately however, these birds are on the endangered list thanks to humans trapping and killing them for meat!