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Feral Pigeon (Rock Dove) (1 Viewer)

Enji

Well-known member
I count them, although if I ever see a true Rock Dove I won't count that as another tick. (Although it might make the tick "truer".) I do feel a bit ambiguos about ticking them though, but I figure that they've been here long enough... and some of the plumage variations are really pretty! Also, it wouldn't really be the same walking around downtown without hearing the pigeons cooing...
 

JTweedie

Well-known member
And sending you a little present from the rafters now and then...

Apparently it's good luck - yes good luck it never happened to anyone else!
 

JTweedie

Well-known member
I did wonder if there was a parental lock guard facility.

Aged as a young bird on account of the brownish irides, underdeveloped cere, and a full set of toes.

There was a reference earlier in this thread about a lack of studies into feral pigeons. BBC Wildlife did a feature on them a few months back, but what struck me the most is that the birds that had been photographed for the feature were all London birds, but their toes were all intact. When I see pigeons half of them usually have deformed feet.
 

ChrisKten

It's true, I quite like Pigeons
Just a note on Feral Pigeons "deformed" feet:

I've had over 60 Pigeons in my garden for years, and I see them appear as juveniles with all appendages intact. But the majority (60%+ of the 60+ ATM) end up without toes, feet, or one leg.

I've heard a number of theories as to why this happens; Genes, disease, acidic droppings, but the most common cause is messy Humans. Look closely at a Pigeon with half a toe, and you'll see string or nylon tightly wound around the toe. This cuts off the blood supply to the toe (or foot, or leg, depending where it's wound around), and the toe/foot dies and drops off. Actually it goes white first, then floppy, and then it drops off. I would imagine this is extremely painful for the affected bird.

Oh, the "string or nylon"? People discard rubbish in the street, cotton seems quite popular, though I've no idea why. Over the years I've unwound and cut string/nylon from many Feral Pigeons, and I like to think that I've saved a few toes/legs/feet. Incidentally; most of the birds were hobbled by the string, and couldn't even stand for long. Some, if it's cotton/nylon instead of string, also get things caught around the cotton, like twigs.

Another reason for losing toes seems to be toxicity of some roosting repellents; there is evidence for this if you Google it. I've found no evidence that walking in their droppings burns Pigeons' toes off.

Of course, it's the stupid Pigeons own fault for feeding on the rubbish we discard.;)
 

JTweedie

Well-known member
I heard that mesh put up to deter them from landing on roofs can also cause them injuries? Don't know if there's any evidence for this though.
 

ChrisKten

It's true, I quite like Pigeons
I heard that mesh put up to deter them from landing on roofs can also cause them injuries? Don't know if there's any evidence for this though.

Yes, I've heard that too. In fact a lot of the deterrents seem to cripple the Pigeons; I've no idea if it actually "deters" them.

Pigeons are very intelligent, and apparently, very resilient. I still remember when they were a Tourist Attraction at Trafalgar Square, now they struggle to be seen as Birds, just "Flying Rats"; which is one of the reasons I like them I guess (sort of favouring the much maligned creatures).|=)|
 

JTweedie

Well-known member
I like that there are some creatures out there that are quite happy to live alongside humans even though we're not generally the most welcoming and friendly of neighbours. I also love Starlings - the fact that you can have whole squads of them feeding frantically around your feet as you walk along a pavement is brilliant, they rarely show any fear or fly off.
 

ChrisKten

It's true, I quite like Pigeons
Starlings are great birds to watch, they make me smile with their antics each day. I've loads in the garden, nearly 100 in the Summer when the fledglings arrive.

The only problem is Starlings are a favourite with the 4+ Sparrowhawks (Both sexes) I see regularly, and Starlings don't go quietly. Still, it all seems to balance itself out in the end; still plenty of Starlings in the garden each year.
 

JTweedie

Well-known member
I don't see Sparrowhawks that often, but when I do, it's the noisy Starlings that make me aware something is going on. I once saw a Sparrowhawk with a Starling in its talons, but it was being pursued by an angry Magpie and it forced the Sparrowhawk down to the ground and the Starling made its escape.
 

fugl

Well-known member
Interesting about all the deformed & diseased pigeons. These must be mostly a big city/city center phenomenon as the birds I encounter regularly in my backyard & at urban & suburban parks in the small city in which I live are invariably bright-eyed & healthy without a missing or deformed toe or leg among them. It can’t just be a matter of diet since many (not all) of the flocks appear to largely subsist on the usual trash that people throw them. Some of these flocks are quite large--200-300 strong--so it’s not just a case of small sample size either. I imagine the incidence of disease & deformity among the big city flocks must go a long way in explaining why so many people dislike these confiding & (when healthy) beautiful creatures.
 

ChrisKten

It's true, I quite like Pigeons
Interesting about all the deformed & diseased pigeons. These must be mostly a big city/city center phenomenon as the birds I encounter regularly in my backyard & at urban & suburban parks in the small city in which I live are invariably bright-eyed & healthy without a missing or deformed toe or leg among them. It can’t just be a matter of diet since many (not all) of the flocks appear to largely subsist on the usual trash that people throw them. Some of these flocks are quite large--200-300 strong--so it’s not just a case of small sample size either. I imagine the incidence of disease & deformity among the big city flocks must go a long way in explaining why so many people dislike these confiding & (when healthy) beautiful creatures.

That's interesting, fugl, makes me think.

Are Feral Pigeons discouraged from roosting locally? And if yes, by what means? If diet is similar, then maybe it's how we (not me) discourage these birds from roosting that's the difference.

Oh, and as I mentioned earlier, Pigeons weren't always thought of as pests. It's only recently (10 years?) that people have become convinced (Ken Livingstone, London Mayor made it worse, as he coined the "Flying Rats" phrase) these birds are disease-ridden vermin. Interesting too, as the only evidence I can find of illness is in Pigeon Fanciers; they can get "Pigeon Fanciers Lung" from breathing in the dust from dry droppings on Loft floors.

TBH, I think it's the numbers; as soon as a species becomes too numerous many lose interest in it. It doesn't matter how smart Pigeons are, or how beautiful-looking they can be with their iridescent plumage; there's too many of them for their own good.

Apologies to the OP, way of topic (although "Feral Pigeon" is in the thread title|=)|)
 

fugl

Well-known member
That's interesting, fugl, makes me think.

Are Feral Pigeons discouraged from roosting locally? And if yes, by what means? If diet is similar, then maybe it's how we (not me) discourage these birds from roosting that's the difference.

Oh, and as I mentioned earlier, Pigeons weren't always thought of as pests. It's only recently (10 years?) that people have become convinced (Ken Livingstone, London Mayor made it worse, as he coined the "Flying Rats" phrase) these birds are disease-ridden vermin. Interesting too, as the only evidence I can find of illness is in Pigeon Fanciers; they can get "Pigeon Fanciers Lung" from breathing in the dust from dry droppings on Loft floors.

TBH, I think it's the numbers; as soon as a species becomes too numerous many lose interest in it. It doesn't matter how smart Pigeons are, or how beautiful-looking they can be with their iridescent plumage; there's too many of them for their own good.

Apologies to the OP, way of topic (although "Feral Pigeon" is in the thread title|=)|)

Much longer than 10 years, I think. In the States at least, city pigeons have been demonized for at least the 30 years or so that my memory of such things goes back.

As far as attempts to discourage pigeon roosting in Reno are concerned, I have to confess ignorance. I’m not aware of any, but then I don’t frequent the parts of town where such attempts would be most likely.

Yes, I agree, numbers (and tameness) will do it every time. As they say, familiarity breeds contempt (unfortunately).
 

JTweedie

Well-known member
Quick question - would a Sparrowhawk prey upon Feral Pigeons? I was looking out the window a few days ago where there was an explosion of grey and blue feathers falling down from the roof - I didn't hear any sound on the roof so couldn't be sure if a bird had just been caught.

There were also a couple of Magpies being very hyperactive nearby as well just before I saw the feathers, so maybe it was them? I know they take eggs and young birds, but would they predate an ill adult bird? It could have been a carcass stuck in the gutter for all I know.
 

ChrisKten

It's true, I quite like Pigeons
Quick question - would a Sparrowhawk prey upon Feral Pigeons? I was looking out the window a few days ago where there was an explosion of grey and blue feathers falling down from the roof - I didn't hear any sound on the roof so couldn't be sure if a bird had just been caught.

There were also a couple of Magpies being very hyperactive nearby as well just before I saw the feathers, so maybe it was them? I know they take eggs and young birds, but would they predate an ill adult bird? It could have been a carcass stuck in the gutter for all I know.

Female Sparrowhawks will even take Wood Pigeons. And a male will sometimes try for a sick Pigeon.

As luck would have it, I just uploaded a picture to my gallery of a Sparrowhawk eating a Pigeon in my garden.

http://www.birdforum.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/353887/ppuser/69033

There's many other similar pics in my gallery, although Starlings feature as prey in most of them.
 

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