Tag Archives: pigeon


Have been wondering about most photographed birds, thinking the pigeon has to be right up there. Indeed it is! 5th in line as far as my limited research tells me.

According to flickr 9.14.11 search results, ducks are first by a long shot (2,075,972,) followed by eagles (1,511,931) and then swans (925,360.) Robins next (875,159,) That’s four. Pigeons 5th (549,506.) Interestingly, food images show up on the first page of duck photos whereas pigeon doesn’t show up as food until pigeon photo pg. 13.

Pigeon Point Lighthouse images appear by pg. 5. There end up being a fair amount of them. Later and much fewer–photos of Pigeon Falls, Pigeon Cove, Pigeon Park, Pigeon Lake, The Pigeon Detectives, Pigeon John, Pigeon Toe Ceramics, pigeon pose….

If you do a google image search for the same birds (ducks, eagles, swans, robins and pigeons) the numbers get totally unwieldy but maintain their relative order.  Except robins end up on top due to a confusion with Robin Williams and Batman.

Fitting nicely with the ordering theme of this post, found this photo of MissCharity’s on flickr pigeon pg. 40.



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Filed under Food, Public Perception

Naming the bird

“The pigeon will be doing stuff not just because it’s a pigeon, and it’s a Columbiform, and it’s from a family that has a small brain……It will be doing what it does partly because of that very specific regime of domestication that it went through for thousands of years.”[1]

In other words, the bird that interests us–the urban pigeon or city pigeon or house pigeon or feral pigeon or free-flying domestic or rat of the sky, your choice of street-speak–is a confusion of natural and artificial selection.

Here is a list of quasi-scientific names people have come up with to address this confusion and distinguish the “pigeon” from its wild rock dove (Columba livia) ancestor. All of which by the way are wrong according to the rules of taxonomic structure & biological typology–Columba livia forma urbana or Columba livia f. domestica or Columba livia var domestica or simply Columba livia var.[2]

In New York City pigeons are classified as livestock.

[1] Humphries, Courtney SUPERDOVE How the Pigeon Took Manhattan and the World. New York: Smithsonian Books, 2008. pg. 113

[2] Johnston, Richard F. and Janiga, Mariàn. FERAL PIGEONS. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995. pg.15

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Filed under Biology, Public Perception

The Mysteries of Pigeon Navigation – Radiolab Podcast

Pigeons are amazing. We still do not know how they manage to navigate home. Sight? Smells? Magnetic fields? All of the above?

This Radiolab podcast: Bird’s-Eye View, includes the story of a pigeon war hero who saved a town and it also explores the variety of experiments scientists have conducted to try to decode this navigational mystery – including putting blinding contact lenses in their eyes, strapping magnetic coils to their heads and transporting them inside smell-controlled boxes.

I wondered what the current state of research is on pigeon navigation and I found a report in the New Scientist about embedding devices in the brain of a pigeon that can record the electrical impulses in the pigeon’s brain at the same time as it records the GPS location. What the researches found is that the pigeon’s brain activity spiked up when they passed over landmarks like highways and coastlines.

Dubbed the Neurologger, this gadget simultaneously captures brain activity and GPS location of homing pigeons as they navigate over land and sea (Image: Alexei Vyssotski, University of Zurich)

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Squab: from Power Line to Plate

High school students in Coshocton, Ohio, considered the possibility of pigeon squab as a food source. They interviewed the community as well as a health department official.

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Filed under Cooking, Food, Harvesting, Public Perception