Rock Pigeon

The rock pigeon comes in many colors, dark grey, light bluish grey, brown, peach, grey and white, pure white, and more. Young birds show little luster and are duller. The eye color of the Rock Pigeon is generally red, but a few pigeons may have orange to off-white eyes. The eyelids are orange and are encapsulated in a grey eye-ring. The feet are red.

Rock pigeons are common throughout the Pacific Northwest, Vancouver Island, and all the pacific northwest. These birds thrive in human habitats and are most populous in large cities, but can also be found in suburban and rural locations. Pigeons do not migrate.

Rock Pigeon, Vancouver Island, BC
Rock Pigeon, Vancouver Island, BC, photo by Bud Logan

Rock pigeons can seem very vocal in large flocks. The typical call is coo coo, almost like an owl sound. Because pigeons are so used to humans, they often will readily approach a passerby for food.

Pigeons are very agile fliers that can reach speeds over 100 km per hour with their tapered wings.

Rock Pigeons prefer to nest in urban and suburban areas, Rock Pigeons nest on a variety of covered, flat surfaces, including ledges and beams in bridges, wharves, and buildings. In natural areas, they nest on sheltered cliff ledges. Pairs may form long-term bonds.

Rock Pigeon, Vancouver Island, BC
Rock Pigeon, Vancouver Island, BC, photo by Bud Logan

The male supplies nesting material and the female builds the nest, which is a platform of twigs and grass. Nest sites are used repeatedly and nesting material is added for each new brood. A pair may raise 5 or more broods a year. Both parents incubate the 2 eggs for up to 19 days, and both feed the young crop milk, a protein and fat-rich liquid produced in their crops. At about 4 weeks of age, the young leave the nest.

Seeds and grain make up most of the Rock Pigeons’ diet in natural settings, but in cities, popcorn, bread, and other human food is usually the bigger part of their diet.

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