The links below should open
in their own windows.

To learn more about pigeons
visit pigeons.com.
The bulliten board is a
good place to start.

This is an obscure one
but is an interesting site
in itself. AnimalDiversity... When you get there do a
search on "pigeons".

Also, look for a book called
"Pigeons" by
Matthew M. Vriends, PhD

This page gives eye witness
accounts of train hopping pigeons
in the London Underground.

The next link is an
exerpt from
The Birds of America
by John James Audobon.
He describes a huge flock
of the now extinct passenger
pigeon which was a native
species of North America

Why do pigeons bob their heads?

The American Homing Pigeon Institute
is dedicated to preserving
historical records
about domestic breeds
and educating the public in
pigeon hobbies.
Pij's Story:
I manage a small import store in northern California. One August night I called up the shop to see how things were going. The girl working at the time graphically informed me of an injured pigeon that had fallen out of an air duct in the ceilling. She had contained him in a basket.
My husband, Roger, and I abrubtly left the gathering we were attending and rushed over to see if we could help.
The little pigeon was a juvinile just loosing his down feathers and his injury was not as bad as I had thought. It looked like his head was knicked by a fan. Most of his head feathers were replaced by scabs and his left eye was not at all visible. Its a wonder he survived so long up there.
Roger, having experience with animals, scooped him up and offered the shaken pigeon some water, which he eagerly drank. This was a good sign.
The bird did not seem in dire need of medical help so we took him home and showed him to our housemates who were vet med students. They agreed there wasn't much to be done for him, but to make him comfy. Five months later he has shed his scabs and his eye has emerged undamaged, yet still patially covered by scar tissue. He has also learned to fly. At first, he would jump up and pirouette in the air or jump off things, much like a human child experimenting with balance. Currently, he practices pausing in midair, spinning around to noticeably ponder his change of directions, much like a humming bird, only to scamper through the air again!
Life With A Pigeon:
Initially we thought it proper to keep him in a cage while we were away or sleeping. After a week of this, Pij was not tolerating his cage anymore. We now have a house pigeon. Imagine having a medium sized cumbersome bird with whistling wings unexpectedly trying to land on your shoulder while you are making toast! At other times he will make a graceful landing on an expectant outstreached arm. He pecks at you toes, asks for a treat or a bath, and jumps on your lap after he is done thoroughly inspecting the rug. He loves having his head and shoulders massaged and sometimes he will groom your hand or cheek. But don't try petting him when he is perching...pigeons are very territorial!
At first I would often think "Gosh, how strange its is to keep a pigeon as a pet!" Roger and I were so in love with this little bird that we did not care if others thought it was abnormal. I started seeking out info about pigeons and found a web site called pigeons.com. There I found people just like us! They happened upon an animal in need and ended up becoming mutually attatched.
Pigeons have had a very close relationship with man since the time of the Greeks, who domesticated the birds and began to breed them for certain characteristics. I also read somewhere that our pigeon, the Euopean Rock Dove (the common city pigeon) is the root breed of all pigeon breeds. And, yes, pigeons are of the same order as the dove.
Along with the misconceptions about these sweet animals is just a general lack of knowlege about their social life and behavior especially in the scientific community. Roger and I are observing our pigeon do things that totally contradict the small amount of literatue that I have found. One woman who used to train parrots trained her pigeon to do several tricks and to fetch! Our pigeon, despite his impaired eye, navigates obstacles like a stunt car driver.
The obvious question is "Isn't he messy?" Well, to our surprise Pij is a very low maintenence pet. His droppings are usally contained to the areas under his two pearches and are semi-solid and don't have a far way to drop (its not like what you see on statues). All birds have evolved away their bladder to minimize weight.His food area (a section of our table) needs to be cleaned daily and fresh water given a couple times a day. Pij has no smell, he doesn't bark, and is pretty independent. He is nicer, cleaner and, I think, smarter than most other other domesticated birds.
I hope the next time you see a pigeon in the city walking around bobbing his head, you will remember that behind the seemingly dumb appearance they are very social and thoughtful animals that have had a long and beneficial relationship with we humans.