The links below should open
in their own windows.
To learn more about pigeons
The bulliten board is a
good place to start.
This is an obscure one
but is an interesting site
When you get there do a
search on "pigeons".
Also, look for a book called
Matthew M. Vriends, PhD
This page gives eye witness
train hopping pigeons
in the London Underground.
The next link is an
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
about domestic breeds
and educating the public in
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
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
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
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.