Bird of the Week: Rock Dove (Columba livia)

Listen to this bird’s call. Do you recognize it?Rock Dove Pigeon Columba livia

Here’s a bird that can be seen in any city. You’ve probably seen them nesting on rooftops and in building crevices, or eating seeds and grain in the park. Pigeons were the first birds to be domesticated and have been found in 5000 year old Mesopotamian art.

These birds can fly up to 60 mph and fly long distances. They can outfly other aerial predators, like the Red-tailed Hawk. They have been used for thousands of years to deliver messages because of their astonishing homing sense. The longest successful homing flight (flying back to its nesting area) was 1100 miles, nonstop! The famous pigeon “Cher Ami” became an American War hero when she saved the 77th infantry brigade by delivering a vital message when German shooters killed all of her comrades. She was blind in one eye, shot through the chest and was missing a leg when she delivered her message. Thanks for all your hard work Cher Ami!


Thanks to Seth Hall for sharing his bird expertise

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Photo credit: Blue Rock Pigeon (Columba livia) in Kolkata I IMG 9762 CC BY-SA 3.0


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