Commonly known as Pigeons, Rock Doves are often considered a nuisance city and farm bird.
Introduced into North America from Europe long ago, these birds have been associated with humans for thousands of years.
Rock Doves are thought to have been the first domesticated bird, raised for meat as far back as the time of the ancient Egyptians.
Pigeons have different colors due to breeding by humans. They are the descendants of the wild Rock Dove of Europe.
About 13 inches in length with a dark gray head, iridescent neck, with a light gray back and 2 dark wing bars.
Pairs are monogamous, often breeding in consecutive seasons for as long as both birds of a pair live.
Most will attempt to raise several broods each year. Sometimes as many as four or five broods will be raised in a single year.
The breeding season of these birds can be all year provided climate conditions allow. There seems to be some slowing down during the winter months.
The nesting habits of these birds are a bit unique. The male chooses a site in view of the female, selecting one stick and bringing it back, lays it in front of his mate.
The female who stays at the nesting site accepts the sticks the male brings to her and places them underneath her.
The nest of the these birds can be found along building ledges, rafters, beams, and under bridges or inside barns.
The nest is saucer-like in shape and made of stems and leaves.
The female may sit on the nest a day or two before the first egg is laid. Generally 2 white eggs are laid.
Both the male and female will incubate the eggs although the female does the incubation during the night.
Incubation last for about 18 days and the young will leave the nest in 25 to 29 days after hatching. This time frame is considerably longer than most birds.
This is 10 - 15 days longer than most of our backyard birds.
Young pigeons in the nest are referred to as "squabs"
Initially, the squabs are fed what is referred to as crop milk. This is a regurgitated thick liquid food that comes from the parents crops.
At about 10 days the squabs are fed increasing amounts of solid food such as caterpillars.
Pigeons may live 3 - 6 years in the wild with the average being 3 - 4 years. In captivity they have lived as long as 15 years.
The primary preadators of pigeons include: man, peregrin falcon, and cats.
According to Professor Richard J. Herrnstein at the Harvard Psychological Laboratories they are. Pigeons were smart enough to learn all the letters of the english alphabet.
In another study, Pigeons were able to recognize themselves in a mirror. This makes them one of six species and the only non-mammal to be able to do so.
So yes, Pigeons are a pretty smart bird.
Learn before you own - The Caring and Feeding of Pigeons.
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