19 April 2011
Ever since the beginning of my research into the pigeon post into Paris I have wanted to visit the Musée de la Poste in Paris. When I eventually found my way to the museum and found the tiny display with information on the balloon mail and carrier pigeons, I was disappointed that there wasn’t more. J.D. Hayhurst’s book ‘Pigeon post into Paris’ has all you need to know about the pigeon post into Paris during 1870-71, and with a collection of clear images, repesenting the artifacts in the museum (which were really difficult to see in the dimly lit cabinet).
I also tried to find the 11 pigeon contraception houses, but ran out of time (and was with a friend who didn’t fancy being dragged to see a pigeon loft after being taken to the Post Museum!). I did take my parabolic dish and microphone to capture the sounds of pigeons in the streets of Paris, but every recording has the sound of traffic, which drowns out the sound of any pigeons. Although it is illegal to feed the pigeons, I expected to see a few people throwing food down for them. I fed them at Gare du l’Est station.
When I first arrived into Paris, I was surprised at the amount of bird song I could hear at Gare du Nord station and Gare de l’Est station. I’m still unsure as to whether there are speakers playing bird song at both stations or whether it actually is the sound of sparrows. Charles de Gaulle Airport, has fixed runway speakers used to scare birds away. Airport agents stationed on each runway are equipped with flares and noisemakers that allow them to play the sounds of a bird in distress, thereby frightening other birds. This helps to reduce the number of airplane collisions with birds.