About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Rock Pigeon migration

Hi there, I have had a family (?) of five wood pigeons descend upon my yard this summer - they've apparently found it to be to their liking, because they've stuck around for months (I'm in the Upper Peninsula). I don't remember seeing them last year - do they migrate?
Thanks, Amy
p.s. I believe it's a "rock pigeon" not a "wood pigeon"

The Rock Pigeon is non-migratory, but has a well-developed ability to return home from distant places. That has made them useful in the study of navigation. If you can see them up close check their legs for bands. They may not be wild. On weekends in the Spring and Fall, thousands of racing pigeon fanciers have birds competing in races at distances from 100 to 600 miles. Or sometimes white ones don't make their way home after a release at a wedding or funeral.

Introduced to North America in the early 17th-century by colonists, the Rock Pigeon (formerly the Rock Dove) has a large feral population all across the USA. eBird data provides a detailed look at the range of this species throughout the year: eBird Year-round Range and Point Map for Rock Pigeon.

Domesticated pigeons were used to carry messages, for racing, as well as for food, and pets. Originally from Europe, North Africa, and Asia, pigeons nest on cliffs and forage in distant fields in their native lands. In the US feral pigeons look for cliff substitutes like bridges and buildings and forage in parks. The species successful use of highway infrastructures, has also facilitated their spread to more remote areas. In the countryside they nest on barns and grain towers, under bridges, and on natural cliffs.

Related Articles:
Racing Pigeon makes a pit stop
Why is the Dove a Symbol of Peace? http://bit.ly/wMKEKF
War Pigeon Remembered http://bit.ly/HBhquZ
Bird of the Week: Rock Pigeon http://bit.ly/HBk9V2
Pre-Google Earth: A Real Bird's Eye View http://bit.ly/HBkjMk

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