Even though you can go on KSL and buy a homing pigeon for 10 dollars, in December of 2020 there was a bidding war where someone bought a pigeon for 1.9 million dollars. Mr. Wilson, the ninth grade biology teacher at Rowland Hall, has some pigeons of his own, but he did not pay nearly as much. Mr. Wilson is a student favorite not only because of his unique teaching style and fun classes but also because of his pigeons. His enthusiasm towards his work is not only noticed by the students, but also other faculty members. Ninth-grade English teacher and coworker Joel Long said that Mr. Wilson’s “subject is connected to his world and how he acts in the world.” As Mr. Long previously stated very well, Mr. Wilson’s someone who gets involved in the community and acts on how he feels towards it. In this article we will dive into what makes Mr. Wilson and his pigeons a highlight of students’ freshman year. One of Mr. Wilson’s most asked question is where he gets his pigeons, so we started by asking him that.
Pigeons come from all over Utah, and there are many places where you can find them. Mr. Wilson buys his pigeons from KSL and has traveled around the Salt Lake Valley to find them. The pigeons that he buys are typically 10-20 dollars. Mr. Wilson gets two types of pigeons, homing/racing pigeons and show pigeons, but the racing pigeons are his personal favorite.
Mr. Wilson got his first pigeons in the summer of 2019 and has had them ever since. He still has one pigeon from the original group, but unfortunately most of the group died due to lack of loft space, which is where the pigeons live. The most pigeons he has had at one time is nine. Students get to see a variety of the pigeons when he brings them in but never all the pigeons together.
Mr. Wilson first decided to get pigeons because the model he uses to teach 9th-grade genetics and heredity uses pigeons as the example, so he wanted to have his own for the class to observe a real-life example. Even though he has had show pigeons, he never intended to display them; he just got them to follow different heritable traits that pigeons have. Since 2019, pigeons have become a fun thing for him to have around for personal reasons as well as an educational model. A 9th-grade biology student, Ashlyn Lieberman, said, “The pigeons are a way to make learning engaging and fun.” Another biology student, Lily Jaffe, stated, “They give a real-life perspective to what we are learning—you can apply what you are learning to real life.” The pigeons not only teach students about heredity, they also teach real-life experience. Students can be more prepared to handle real questions about live organisms and are more comfortable with observing and being around living animals because of this experience. Mr. Wilson is devoted to his students' learning, and even though his pigeons are not worth 1.9 million dollars, they still enhance our learning and bring fun to the classroom!
Other pigeon facts he told us:
Pigeons’ eyes are better than ours and can see the magnetic field.
A pigeon’s eyes are so big that they can’t roll their eyes.
It only takes his pigeons about 90 seconds to fly home from Rowland Hall.