In a gentle reminder that pigeons are not mere “sky rats”, another guest post from Jake Sewall in Holland– Steve.
Common Encounters With The [Un]Common Pigeon
It’s the pigeon equivalent of “getting back to your roots.” Though domestic pigeons have been bred in an almost unimaginable variety of colors and shapes, feral pigeons – the escapees, refugees, or cast offs from the domestic cornucopia – return quickly, within a generation or two, and almost universally to the mixed shades of grey, black, and blue that their wild ancestor the Rock Dove [columba livia] has worn for millennia. That is not to say they are drab, the close observer will see the fine play of color that cloaks a perfect “blue bar” pigeon, the color that racing great Alf Baker once referred to as a bag of gold dust, the pearlescent hue of the blue, the glowing purple and green of the iridescent neck feathers.
Few people, however, bother to closely observe the bird that is, rightly, known as the “common” pigeon. Ubiquitous to almost any urban setting ranging from the smallest of villages to the largest megalopolis, the common pigeon thrives on the substrate of human civilization, which provides ready access to food, shelter, and water as well as relative security from predators.
Tolerated at best, scorned and reviled more commonly, the common pigeon is low on most lists of “favorite” animals. They are, however, if we take another meaning of “common,” anything but common…