Pigeons (Rock doves)
The Pigeon or Rock Dove is extremely common in urban areas of the United States. The coloration on pigeons varies widely, the most common being gray with a white rump, two black bars on each wing, a broad black band on the tail and red feet. Examples of all white or all black birds are commonly seen as well as every shade in between. They average 13 oz. in weight and are about 11 inches in length. The common pigeon was derived from the European Rock Dove and was introduced to this country as a domestic bird. Many escaped and formed colonies.
Pigeons roost and nest on building ledges and trim, eaves, rooftops, in steeples, attics, etc. Nests are made of sticks, twigs and grasses bunched into a loose platform. Pigeons are monogamous. Eight to 12 days after mating, females lay 2 eggs which hatch after 18 days. Males guard and care for the female and nest. The young mature and leave the nest 4 to 6 weeks after they hatch and more eggs are laid before the first young leave the nest. Breeding occurs during all seasons but mainly in spring and fall. Pigeons commonly live up to 15 years, but in more urban areas they tend to live only 3-4 years.
Damage causedPigeons droppings accumulate below roost sites and deface buildings. Cleaning the stains is costly and large accumulations of droppings can kill plants and cause an unpleasant odor. Around grain holding and processing facilities pigeons can contaminate large amounts of grain meant for humans and livestock. Pigeons may carry and spread diseases to which humans are susceptible. They are known to carry pigeon ornithosis, encephalitis, Newcastle disease, toxoplasmosis, salmonella, and several other less common diseases. Pigeons may also carry several different types of ectoparasites, such as mites, fleas and ticks. Many of these parasites will not only infect pigeons but also humans. Pigeon droppings may also contain several different types of fungi that can effect humans as well.
Illus: Prevention & Control of Wildlife Damage