• Homing

  • On Pigeons, Dwellings and Why We Return
  • By: Jon Day
  • Narrated by: Matt Addis
  • Length: 8 hrs and 7 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (18 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A feral history of home, and our relationship with that most unloved bird. 

As a boy, Jon Day was fascinated by pigeons, which he used to rescue from the streets of London. Twenty years later he moved away from the city centre to the suburbs to start a family. But in moving house, he began to lose a sense of what it means to feel at home. 

Returning to his childhood obsession with the birds, he built a coop in his garden and joined a local pigeon racing club. Over the next few years, as he made a home with his young family in Leyton, he learned to train and race his pigeons, hoping that they might teach him to feel homed. 

Having lived closely with humans for tens of thousands of years, pigeons have become powerful symbols of peace and domesticity. But they are also much maligned, and nowadays most people think of these birds, if they do so at all, as vermin. 

A book about the overlooked beauty of this species, and about what it means to dwell, Homing delves into the curious world of pigeon fancying, explores the scientific mysteries of animal homing and traces the cultural, political and philosophical meanings of home. It is a book about the making of home and making for home: a book about why we return.

©2019 Jon Day (P)2019 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

What listeners say about Homing

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    5 out of 5 stars
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If your interested in Pigeons, this is really a great Audible Book

This is a great Audible Book. The only caveat being the subject mater may only appeal to narrow audience. I thought about holding back a star for that, but I've been reeding a lot of Audible Books recently and this one was particularly well done in every sense.
So to begin with, the story was well done about the subject mater. I guess being interested in birds in general or Pigeons specifically is kind of a fringe thing. But the author did a great story here.
Secondly, this authors style I feel is noteworthy. Maybe it's because he was telling his story, but the timbre of story was enjoyable in a way I would compare to reading Harper Lee's book. It feels uncluttered and without backtracking & explanation that draws things out. This is a feel I enjoy but don't get in long bios about important historical subjects.
Lastly, the narrator does first class work here! He does well by this story and he might even help it.
If this subject interests you, I don't think you can go wrong with this read.

1 person found this helpful

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Sky rats

After reading this book I find myself thinking of getting a couple pigeons to keep as pets. keep in mind they are unlike any other pet. Come to think of it they’re not a pet at all, free to go as they please, yet stay to live with us. They’re more like us then you probably realize.

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Very Touching Story

This book was wonderful. It is as close to a hearty meal of roast beef and potatoes that your mother used to make as a book could be. Deep and satisfying and leaves you wishing it wasn’t over when it reaches its conclusion.

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Set Your Heart Aflutter

Pigeons, or rock doves as this species who star in this lovely book, really need a new PR agent, and Jon Day may just be the person for the job. Vilified throughout history – except for the period they were message carriers until we invented flight and the postal service - these ‘rats with wings’, like the rats they’re compared with, suffer an unjustly terrible reputation in modern lore.
Jon Day’s fascination with pigeons is their ability to home, and it’s the essence of home, what it is, and what it means, as seen through the eyes of Day and the keen eyes of pigeons, sprinkled with some pigeon history and a dip into other writer’s thoughts and ideas, that he explores in this beautifully written book.
I bought this book because I too have become entranced by the humble pigeon. Scores of them visit my backyard every day, several times a day, and I feed them. Sometimes one is sick, and I trap it, and either take it to the vet for euthanasia or, with the vet’s help and a bit of my own cash, medicate and rehabilitate the bird then set it free again.
Like Day, I find a peace sitting with them, and watching the cocks dance and twirl or dominate the bird bath, or hand feeding the brave few, who beg for food from me with, as he describes so perfectly, 'burnt orange eyes'. They’re considered a pest, yes, but we brought them here,...

Day becomes involved in racing, but stops when he is told that the only way to win races is through the ‘widow’ method; separate a pigeon from its chicks and mate and it will fly home more quickly. He reflects on this and decides its cruel and that he doesn’t need to win a race that badly.

Before I acquired the book, I’d already decided that pigeon racing is cruel, given the condition of some of the racing birds who land in my yard, attaching themselves to these feral flocks, never mind the widow method. I listened to Day’s book anyway and his stories are beautiful and his descriptions of the pigeons apt; I too know the ‘clatter’ of their wings as a flock takes off in startle, and the soft, silky lightness of their feathers if one sits on me and eats out of my hand, her breast feathers lightly grazing my fingers. His writing is visceral and poetic.
I only wish that Day decided that pigeons are beautiful and wonderful and can be enjoyed in their own right, and not have raced them at all, ever. Still, if pigeons need a PR makeover, Day is the person for the job. Highly recommended.

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So beautiful and moving

I loved this book. I wasn't expecting something so poetic about the nature of homes and homing.

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  • Dr P Gibbs
  • 12-02-19

Excellent. The author's enthusiasm is infectious.

I heard the author interviewed , enjoyed the chat so much I bought the book

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  • C PRATT
  • 11-18-19

Good listen with interesting pigeon facts

Good listen, who knew pigeons were so clever. The performance let it down slightly but over all it was fine.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-03-20

Refreshing!

I really enjoyed this book. It was a refreshing insight into the World of the caring pigeon fancier. Jon Day writes from the heart!