Home » Time To Learn What A Dovecote Is: Cold Start

Time To Learn What A Dovecote Is: Cold Start

Cs Dovecote1
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I can’t remember exactly how, but I came across the word “dovecote” recently. Do you know what a dovecote is? I didn’t. But I do now, and, even better, I know that there are automotive-based dovecotes, so those are, of course, the best sort of dovecotes, and suitable to be included here, in a Cold Start!

A dovecote is basically, a pigeon house. Usually it’s for homing pigeons, which were, as you probably know, used for communications for, jeez, millenia – hell, Pliny the Elder even mentions their use for sending messages back in ancient Roman times! That’s right, the elder Pliny!

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Messenger pigeons can, somehow, return to their home nest, even if it’s about 1,000 miles away, and they can do it at speeds of about 60 mph! These are incredible birds! During WWI, mobile dovecotes, like the one you see up top, made from a London General Omnibus Company B-type bus were used, and they were basically big, likely stinky pigeon houses that could drive around, and the pigeons within could be sent with messages back to HQ, which is where the pigeon’s home nests were.

Here’s another one, of a make I haven’t been able to identify yet, but am very curious about:

Cs Dovecote2

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Look at that strange radiator, with the round hole there! This looks to be a sort of early cab-over design, too, with the driver perched atop the engine, and a whole pigeon-house perched atop that! I wish I could make out that badge. Hold on, let me try something here. COMPUTER! Zoom and enhance!

Cs Dovecote Badge

Hm, that didn’t really help.

That thing looks like it has solid-rubber tires, too, and is quite beefy in construction, which it would have to be, seeing as how a whole house has been built on it. If this thing could do more than, say 35 mph I’d be impressed.

Still, the important thing is we’re all aware of motorized dovecotes now, and they’re fascinating. Scientists aren’t exactly certain just how homing pigeons manage to do what they do, but it seems to have something to do with magnetoreception and iron particles called “cuticulosomes” in pigeon ears. But this isn’t even really certain, either. It’s still a beautiful mystery!

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Martin English
Martin English
26 days ago

For the technically inclined … pigeons v internet
https://www.jeffgeerling.com/blog/2023/pigeon-still-faster-internet

Sarah Lowrey
Sarah Lowrey
26 days ago

Seems to me as if the hole in the radiator would be used for a manual cranking handle.

Guillaume Maurice
Guillaume Maurice
26 days ago

Since it’s a French bus converted into a pigeonhole;..

Here’s a bit of military fun : the French Army still has a Pigeon Unit.

It’s part of the 8th Transmission Regiment and the pigeon home is in the Mont Valérien Fort.

What me?
What me?
26 days ago

They still excist for pigeon racing. Here’s a video I found from the start of a race. It’s an explosion of pigeons.
https://www.dumpert.nl/item/6433242_c41455b3

Do You Have a Moment To Talk About Renaults?
Do You Have a Moment To Talk About Renaults?
24 days ago
Reply to  What me?

Holy shit that’s terrifying. Not sure how they do it in my neck of the woods, where pigeon racing is somewhat popular. I don’t think it’s truckoad-of-pigeons popular, though.

Freelivin1327
Freelivin1327
26 days ago

“Pigeons? Well, we don’t have a deal with them!”
-George Costanza

DaChicken
DaChicken
26 days ago

I guess now I know where the name for Dovecot came from.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
26 days ago

That hole in the front of second mobile dovecote? It’s a pigeonhole.

Mr. Frick
Mr. Frick
26 days ago

So, that pigeon perched atop the driver would be the head Pigeon?

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
26 days ago
Reply to  Mr. Frick

Just a decoy. In case of snipers.

Peter Andruskiewicz
Peter Andruskiewicz
25 days ago
Reply to  Mr. Frick

Just don’t let it drive the bus!

DysLexus
DysLexus
26 days ago

I’d love to pigeon with just one more comment but I cannot circle back to anything clever.

Justin Haas
Justin Haas
26 days ago

Reminds me of the train from the end of Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome.

AlterId
AlterId
26 days ago

It’s a converted double-decker bus, probably a Brillié-Schneider P2 retired from the Paris fleet because double-deckers weren’t that popular.

I should have let that stand alone so I’d look like I know something, but that’s the result of around 90 minutes of obsessive Googling, including discovery of the original image published in 1915.

Last edited 26 days ago by AlterId
Ricardo Mercio
Ricardo Mercio
26 days ago
Reply to  AlterId

Quite impressive research, kudos for that.

AlterId
AlterId
26 days ago
Reply to  Ricardo Mercio

Thanks. These days I’ve got a little more free time and a little less psychopharmaceutical medication, so I let the compulsive flag fly.

After ironing it and making sure it was precisely perpendicular to the flagpole, of course.

OrigamiSensei
OrigamiSensei
26 days ago
Reply to  AlterId

And we love you for it – well done, good and faithful Autopian!

Soso Tsundere
Soso Tsundere
26 days ago

Pigeons certainly have been messengers for a long time, but most dovecotes were built to breed them for food (they are better at foraging than chickens, and breed pretty fast). Later on they developed a large community of Pigeon Fanciers who bred them for show or just fun, the early 19th century version of Autopian readers.

ES
ES
26 days ago

peterbilt

nuts, should read the comments before posting.

Last edited 26 days ago by ES
Collegiate Autodidact
Collegiate Autodidact
26 days ago

“[A]t speeds of about 60 mph!”
That’s indeed fast but, pffft, Mexican free-tailed bats can do 100 mph which would make them the fastest mammal *and* the fastest flying animal in level flight (peregrine falcons can hit 240 mph in steep dives but only 68 mph in level flight.) As smart as bats are, though, it’s probably not possible to train them to deliver messages. Just as well, as seeing how all species of bats are already stressed as it is.

Last edited 26 days ago by Collegiate Autodidact
Dar Khorse
Dar Khorse
26 days ago

Indeed, the US Army tried to train bats to deliver firebombs during WW2. Didn’t work out so well: https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/04/old-weird-tech-the-bat-bombs-of-world-war-ii/237267/

SlowCarFast
SlowCarFast
26 days ago

As smart as bats are, though, it’s probably not possible to train them they are too smart to deliver messages for humans

Fixed it!

Just as well, as seeing how all species of bats are already stressed as it is.

Amen! Save the bats! Eat those insects! (Okay, some of them are allowed to be fruitarian.)

Clark B
Clark B
26 days ago

Aha, but what is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
26 days ago
Reply to  Clark B

Depends on weight.
And whether or not there’s a witch involved.

Martin English
Martin English
26 days ago
Reply to  Clark B

African or European ?

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
26 days ago

How long before Mercedes buys one of these things and converts it into an RV?

Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
26 days ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

A place for her Smarts to come to roost; a Smartcote?

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
26 days ago
Reply to  Spikedlemon

Either that or turn it into the official Autopian road trip vehicle.

George CoStanza
George CoStanza
26 days ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

Came here looking for the Mercedes-RV-conversion comment and not disappointed. Well played, Canopysaurus. You’re my second-favorite dinosaur after the Thesaurus.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
26 days ago

I’m honored.

IRegertNothing, Esq.
IRegertNothing, Esq.
26 days ago

Barnaby! My trusty pigeon has brought back a message from that fetching young lady! I had sent her my photograph with a note proposing a carnal rendezvous. Drat! It says “Swipe left”.

Tinder was way different back then.

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
26 days ago

Bird house on wheels?
Naw. That’s an example of the first prototype British Food Truck.

IRegertNothing, Esq.
IRegertNothing, Esq.
26 days ago
Reply to  Col Lingus

Fried pigeon does sound like something the English would eat. It goes nicely with lamprey pie and a beer strong enough to cover up the taste of a lamprey pie.

Happy Walters
Happy Walters
26 days ago

The name of the food you are looking for is “Squab.” Eating young pigeons goes way back, though, the English aren’t especially to blame.

Cool Dave
Cool Dave
26 days ago

I thought that header image was some sort of home-brewed RV where they had mounted an old wooden house on a chassis but man, the actual explanation is even better!

10001010
10001010
26 days ago

Well let’s see, with that oval shaped badge it could be either a Ford or a Toyota or a Hyundai or a Subaru or an Infiniti or a Bugatti or a Pagani or a Land Rover or a Venturi or a Peterbilt or a Lagonda or an Oakland or a Wolseley

Why do so many car companies use ovals?

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
26 days ago
Reply to  10001010

I’m not sure. An oval is a pretty nice shape for a badge but there are so many more interesting shapes they could have used.

Doctor Nine
Doctor Nine
26 days ago

One of the premiere guys doing research on this magnetic geolocation stuff is from Baylor medical school down in Houston. His name is J. David Dickman. Which has to be one of the best damned scientist names I have ever heard in my life. His articles are freaking fascinating.

getstoneyII (probably)
getstoneyII (probably)
26 days ago
Reply to  Doctor Nine

That’s the same Jack Dickman that went deep into stamina as well. He’s a hard worker.

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
26 days ago

So, if the pigeon flies home, and home is at HQ, how does HQ send messages back to that remarkably smelly truck?

10001010
10001010
26 days ago
Reply to  MATTinMKE

You simply train the pigeon to fly in reverse.

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
26 days ago
Reply to  10001010

Ah, I see. That must be aerodynamically frustrating for the pigeon. Couldn’t they take a train or something?

10001010
10001010
26 days ago
Reply to  MATTinMKE

They could but they refuse to pay the transfer fee.

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
26 days ago
Reply to  10001010

Damn cheap pigeons, always making things complicated.

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
26 days ago
Reply to  MATTinMKE

And that’s a sticking point in the current contract talks…they are also demanding a 4 day work week, and better retirement benefits.

These sort of things are one reason I will stick to “chicken.”

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
26 days ago
Reply to  Col Lingus

And now I’m hungry for Chick-fil-A.

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