At sunset in towns all across Jordan, you’ll see small, tight flocks of pigeons wheeling overhead. Pigeon-fancying is surprisingly popular, and has taken on something of a shady image, since the point of it is not to race the birds, but rather to kidnap prize specimens from other people’s flocks. In every neighbourhood, as the sun goes down, people emerge onto the flat rooftops and open up their ramshackle pigeon coops, sometimes twirling a lure on a length of rope to keep the flock dipping and swooping, sometimes holding a female bird up so that the males will circle around. Neighbours will often deliberately exercise their flocks at the same time, to try and persuade each other’s birds to defect; similarly, some well-trained flocks can be enticed to fly off to another part of town to bring back new individuals. Newspapers report that enthusiasts gain three or four new birds a week, yet lose roughly the same number. Many fanciers keep their identities secret, since – for obvious reasons – they’re popularly seen as being not entirely trustworthy.

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Jordan features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Discovering Amman: why you should stay a while

Discovering Amman: why you should stay a while

One of the world’s top adventure spots, tourists to Jordan tend to zip right through Amman and head straight to the mountains, Petra, or the fabulous burnt-or…

16 Apr 2018 • Eleanor Ross insert_drive_file Article
Video: 5 reasons to hike the Jordan Trail

Video: 5 reasons to hike the Jordan Trail

Despite being a safe country with no shortage of breathtaking historical sites, friendly people and some of the world's most stunning wilderness, Jordan is ofte…

23 Jan 2018 • Colt St. George videocam Video
Rediscovering Jordan: why the time to go is now

Rediscovering Jordan: why the time to go is now

It’s one of the world’s top adventure destinations – and one of our top 18 places to visit in 2018 – and yet, in recent years, tourists have been es…

22 Jan 2018 • Sarah Reid insert_drive_file Article
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