Tuesday, August 30, 2011

About Pigeons

More pigeons, by popular demand.

Our urban pigeons are descended from rock doves, old world birds that dwell in steep rock cliffs. Their species preceded ours on earth by a long shot. Starting in ancient times, pigeons were domesticated. They were prized as a source of food before chickens were readily available. They produced fertilizer. They were bred for their beautiful plumage. They were raced for sport, and used as messengers because of their endurance and uncanny homing instincts. Our urban pigeons are feral pigeons, descendants of rock doves that were domesticated and brought to North America. They adapt brilliantly to city life, because they'll eat just about anything, and they're quite comfortable flying among the highrises that kill many less adaptable birds. They are loyal mates and prolific breeders. They are protective parents whose babies stay in the nest for thirty days with both parents feeding them, until they are full grown.

Pigeons are unique among feral animals because they maintain the extremely varied colors that were the result of human selection. Pigeons often have damaged feet as a result of infection, due to physical hazards and unclean conditions where they live. Birth abnormalities are rare among pigeons. Typical urban pigeons live about five years. Many studies have demonstrated pigeons to be among the most intelligent of birds, and comparable in intellect to small children, dolphins and elephants. Pigeons have been decorated war heroes.


  1. Your pigeons are lovely - they look very gentle. Have you seen them with jelies - http://www.rume.co.uk/thornback-peel-pigeon-canvas-9716-0.html - somehow the combination works.

  2. Without knowing these details, I have been enjoying my 35 pigeons till today.. thanks for letting me know! Nice work too.
    The neighborhood cats have changed home and my pigeons get to eat in peace now.

  3. I LOVE Pigeons! Truly a work of art!!

  4. Oh Barbara this painting is wonderful. I love pigeons and doves....I miss them. I saw them all the time at my other house. great job on the painting and thanks for the info about them.