Do the pigeons of Makkah and Madinah have a special privilege?

Q: I heard a pilgrim saying that when any pigeon of Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah is about to die, it flies to Makkah and soars above the Ka`bah as a farewell to it, then it dies after flying a few miles away. Is this true or not? Appreciate your guidance.

A: There is nothing special about the pigeons of Al-Madinah or that of Makkah. They are not different from any other pigeons, except in the fact that it is impermissible to hunt or disturb them when one is in Ihram (ritual state for Hajj and `Umrah) so long as a person is within the Haram (sanctuary) of Makkah or that of Al-Madinah. If one goes outside the limits of the Haram, then it is permissible to hunt them for those who are not in a state of Ihram. This is based on the general meaning of the saying of Allah (Exalted be He): O you who believe! Kill not the game while you are in a state of Ihrâm [for Hajj or ‘Umrah (pilgrimage)] and the general meaning of the saying of the Prophet (peace be upon him): Allah has made Makkah a sanctuary and fighting in it has not been made lawful for anybody before me or after me, except for one hour of one day [i.e., on the day of the Conquest of Makkah]. Its thorns shall not be cut, its trees shall not be chopped down, and its game shall not be disturbed... Related by Al-Bukhari. He (peace be upon him) further said: Ibrahim made Makkah a sanctuary and I have made (Part No. 3; Page No. 93)  Al-Madinah a sanctuary, the area between its two tracts of black stones. Its trees should not be cut down and its game should not be hunted. Related by Muslim. So, whoever claims that the pigeons of Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah fly to Makkah when the time of their death approaches and fly over the Ka`bah is an ignorant person who claims a groundless and baseless thing. No one knows when any creature will die except Allah (Exalted be He) Who says: ...and no person knows in what land he will die. Bidding farewell to the Ka`bah is only done by doing Tawaf-ul-Wada` (circumambulation of the Ka`bah on leaving Makkah) when a person has performed Hajj or `Umrah. The claim that pigeons know when they will die and that they bid the Ka`bah farewell by flying over it is a false claim, which no one would dare say but an ignorant person who fabricates lies against Allah and His slaves. And Allah is the One Whose help is sought.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.