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General Pigeon Information

The common or city pigeon is found throughout the USA. It was developed from the Rock Dove and introduced into this country as a domesticated bird, but many of these birds escaped and formed feral populations. Today the pigeon is probably the most serious pest bird associated with human habitations.

Pigeons are commonly found around ledges, farm yards, grain elevators, feed mills, parks, city buildings, bridges, attics and other areas that provide roosting, loafing, and nesting sites.

Typically pigeons have gray bodies with a whitish rump, two black bars on the secondary wing feathers, a broad black band on the tail and red feet. However, body color can vary. The average weight is 13 ounces, and the average length is 11 inches.

Facts About Pigeons

Pigeons are tough creatures, they can endure a lot of hardship and have some surprising abilities:

  • Pigeons are incredibly intelligent animals. They are one of only bird species to pass self recognition test. They can also recognize each letter of the English alphabet and even distinguish different people and animals within a photograph.
  • Pigeons are known for their outstanding navigational abilities. They use a range of skills, such as using the sun as a guide and an internal compass. A study at Oxford University found that they will also use landmarks as signposts and will travel along man-made roads and even changing direction at junctions.
  • Pigeons are highly sociable animals and will often be seen in flocks of 20-30 birds.
  • Pigeons mate for life and tend to raise two chicks at a time.
  • Female and male pigeons share responsibility of caring for and raising young.
  • Pigeons have awesome hearing abilities. They can detect sounds at very low frequencies.
  • Pigeons and humans have lived in close proximity for over five thousand years. The first recordings of this date back to modern Iraq in 3000BC
  • Pigeons can fly at altitudes up to 6000 feet and at an average speed of 77.6 mph. The fastest recorded speed of a pigeon is 92.5 mph.

Some Diseases directly transmitted by Pigeons

  • Histoplasmosis
  • Psittacosis
  • Cryptococcosis
  • Toxoplasmosis
  • Candidiasis
  • E. Coli
  • Leptospirosis
  • Salmonellosis

Damage

Pigeon droppings deposited on park benches, statues, cars, homes & buildings is not only objectionable to the eye and nose but also accelerates deterioration, particularly on buildings. Large amounts of droppings can kill vegetation growth. Around farms, elevators, and feed mills, pigeons consume and contaminate large quantities of grain otherwise destined for human or livestock consumption.
Pigeons have also been implicated in the transmission of many diseases such as ornithosis, encephalitis, salmonella food poisoning and histoplasmosis.

Pigeon droppings can harbor the causal agent of histoplasmosis, a systemic fungus disease that affects the human respiratory tract. In severe cases it can be fatal. The external parasites of pigeons include various species of mites, fleas, ticks. Pigeons can even be a threat to human safety around airports runways, where there is the possibility for pigeon flocks to collide with in-flight aircraft. In fact, there have been several instances of aircraft colliding with bird flocks, causing human fatalities.

Pigeons eat and contaminate food and animal feed. They also damage containers and packaging materials in which foods and feed are stored.

Pigeons are also a major problem for health reasons. They will defecate and urinate all over the attic. This introduces parasites, bacteria and other nasty microscopic creatures to the interior environment of your home and histoplasmosis.

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Pigeons