(Last Updated on : 09/10/2015)
Feral Pigeons are an Indian bird
that bears a scientific name "Columba livia domestica
", also called city doves, city pigeons, or street pigeons and are derived from domestic pigeons that have returned to the wild.
Breeding of Feral Pigeons
Feral Pigeons were originally bred from the wild rock dove, which naturally inhabits sea-cliffs and mountains. Feral Pigeons are all the same species and will readily interbreed. Feral Pigeons find the ledges of buildings to be a substitute for sea cliffs, having become adapted to urban life, and are abundant in towns and cities throughout much of the world.
Courtship of Feral Pigeons
The courtship rituals of Feral Pigeons can be observed in urban parks at any time of the year. The male on the ground or rooftops puffs up the feathers on his neck to appear larger and thereby impress or attract attention. He approaches the hen at a rapid walking pace while emitting repetitive quiet notes, often bowing and turning as he comes closer.
At first, the female invariably walks or flies a short distance away and the male follows her until she stops. At this point, he continues the bowing motion and very often makes full- or half-pirouettes in front of the female. The male then proceeds to feed the female by regurgitating food, as they do when feeding the young. The male then mounts the female, rearing backwards to be able to join their cloacae. The mating is very brief with the male flapping his wings to maintain balance on top of the female.
Nests of Feral Pigeons
The forts, palaces and the abandoned buildings are favourite nesting areas. The mass nesting is common as pigeons are a community flocking bird; often, dozens of birds share a building. Loose tiles and broken windows provide access, and pigeons are adept at spotting new access points.
Population of Feral Pigeons
Feral Pigeons are often found in Indian states and the cities. Feral Pigeons only have small populations within cities. For example, the breeding population of feral pigeons in Sheffield, England, has been estimated at only 12,130 individuals.
Breeding Time of Feral Pigeons
Feral Pigeons breed when the food supply is abundant enough to support embryonic egg development, which in cities can be any time of the year. The laying of eggs can take place up to six times per year.
Pairs of Feral Pigeons
Feral Pigeons are often found in pairs during the breeding season, but usually the pigeons are gregarious, living in flocks of 50 to 500 birds (dependent on the food supply).
Feeding of Feral Pigeons
Feral Pigeons can be seen eating grass seeds and berries in parks and gardens in the spring, but plentiful sources exist throughout the year from scavenging and they also take insects and spiders. Additional food is also usually available from the disposing of stale bread in parks by restaurants and supermarkets and from tourists buying and distributing birdseed, etc. Pigeons tend to congregate in large, often thick flocks when feeding on discarded food, and have been observed flying skilfully around trees, buildings, telephone poles, and cables, and even through moving traffic just to reach a food source.