Pigeons in the Media: Harry Potter and the Owl Post
In the best selling juvenile fantasy "Harry Potter"
series written by the
English author J. K. Rowling, letters and parcels are often sent
by "owl post." In these stories, witches and wizards
keep their own personal
or family owls which they employ for message delivery
where, instead, we "Muggles" might use e-mail or the Post Office.
In the books, owls have many advantages over both e-mail and letter carriers.
Though an owl might not be as fast as e-mail, they are
quite reliable and easy to use. Harry's white snowy owl, Hedwig, need only be
told to whom she should deliver a message, and she
delivers it without even being told the address. Harry's friend, Ron Weasly,
has an old family owl named Errol. Errol's been around a bit,
and always looks like he's about to collapse after delivering a message, but he
still manages to always come through. Ron is given a small owl in the
third book which he names "Pigwidgeon," which looks an awful lot like it
was derived from the word "pigeon."
The Harry Potter books go a long way to stir the imaginations of all readers,
young and old. Although we know it's fantasy, it's fun to
imagine what it would be like to wave a magic wand, learn magic spells, fly on
a broom, and send messages with birds. But of course,
we all know that wands are only in fairy tales, magic is in the imagination,
brooms are for sweeping, and birds don't deliver messages.
Or do they?