Saturday, January 15, 2011

North American Rock Pigeon Habitats: Gray Body, Platform Nest, White Egg


Summary: North American rock pigeon habitats in coastal, inland, rural, urban Canada, Mexico and the United States sport platform nests, white eggs and gray bodies.


feral male rock pigeon (Columba livia) in flight at Burnaby Lake Regional Park, Lower Mainland Region, British Columbia, western Canada; 2006: Alan D. Wilson/Nature's Pics Online, CC BY SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

North American rock pigeon habitats accommodate citified, feral and wild rock doves in cold hardiness and heat tolerance zones from Canada and the United States through Mexico to Caribbean and Latin America.
Rock pigeons bear the common and scientific names rock dove and Columba livia as blue-colored, cliff-loving, diving members in the Columbidae family of doves and pigeons. Agro-industrial pesticides, habitat fragmentation, hunting mortalities and laboratory experiments challenge rock pigeons, described in 1789 by German naturalist Johann Friedrich Gmelin (Aug. 8, 1748-Nov. 1, 1804). The gray-pink-billed, plump-bodied, short-legged, small-headed rock pigeons with broad, pointed wings and round, wide tails draw together into feeding, roosting and sunning flocks of monogamous pairs.
Five- to 35-year lifespans entail nests and roosts for buildings, crevices and overhangs 10 to 100 feet (3.05 to 30.48 meters) above ground or within caves.

January, February, October, November and December facilitate breeding even though March through September furnish favorable camouflage and weather for two to six 1- to 3-egg clutches.
Parents-to-be gather debris, grasses, straws and twigs onto flat, flimsy, shallow platforms amid wall ivy, in caves and crevices, on ledges and lofts and under bridges. Nests, honed by fathers-to-be for yearly re-habitation, harbor 1.49- to 1.54-inch (38- to 39-millimeter) by 1.09- to 1.14-inch (27.9- to 29-millimeter), oval to elliptical, unmarked eggs. Mothers-to-be incubate their glossy or lusterless, smooth eggs every other day for 16 to 19 days and involve monogamous mates in day-off, day-on nightly shift changes.
American crows and kestrels, Cooper's hawks, eastern screech-owls, golden eagles, great horned owls, opossums, peregrine falcons, raccoons and red-tailed hawks jeopardize North American rock pigeon habitats.

Crop (pouch) milk from parental esophaguses keeps alive the first week helpless nestlings with coarse, red-tinted, yellow down, gray, pink-tipped bills and gray-pink feet and legs.
Rock pigeon chicks, called squabs, live upon pigeon milk and regurgitated grains, nuts and seeds from their parents until independence 30 to 35 days after hatching. They manage sexual maturity 140-plus days after hatching even though physical maturity mandates the move from brown-gray-eyed juveniles to red-orange-eyed adults 40 to 100 days later. Acorns, barley, bread and cake crumbs, cherry, corn, currants and fruits, elm, insects, knotweed, oat and poison ivy seeds, peanuts and popcorn nourish adult rock pigeons.
North American rock pigeon habitats at altitudes through 4,500 feet (14,763.78 meters) above sea level offer temperatures above minus 45 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 42.77 degrees Celsius).

Arrangement into loose colonies of related flocks, camouflage and navigation by Earth's magnetic fields, by solar positions and by smell and sound protect rock pigeon populations.
Nine- to 14-ounce (255.15- to 396.89-gram) weights, 11- to 14-inch (27.94- to 35.56-centimeter) lengths and 20- to 26-inch (50.8- to 66.04-centimeter) wingspans qualify as adult sizes. Direct, strong flight patterns, realized historically as United States Army Signal Corps message-carriers during both world wars, reach speeds of 60 miles (96.56 kilometers) per hour. Twelve subspecies show all-black, all-brown, checkered or pied morphing or white-rumped, white-underwinged gray coloring with two black wing bars and swallow water without sticking beaks skyward.
Alarmed grunts, the slapping, whistling wing sound T-T-T-T-t-t-t-t-t and the vocalization whoo hoo-witoo-hoo tell of foraging, nesting, roosting, sunning residents in North American rock pigeon habitats.

cold-tolerant rock pigeons (Columba livia) in Montréal, Québec, eastern Canada: Adqproductions, CC BY SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Acknowledgment
My special thanks to:
Talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the Internet;
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University for superior on-campus and on-line resources.
Image credits:
feral male rock pigeon (Columba livia) in flight at Burnaby Lake Regional Park, Lower Mainland Region, British Columbia, western Canada; 2006: Alan D. Wilson/Nature's Pics Online, CC BY SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons @ https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rock_dove_-_natures_pics.jpg
cold-tolerant rock pigeons (Columba livia) in Montréal, Québec, eastern Canada: Adqproductions, CC BY SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons @ https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Froidetpigeon.jpg

For further information:
Baicich, Paul J.; and Harrison, Colin J.O. 2005. Nests, Eggs, and Nestlings of North American Birds. Second Edition. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press, Princeton Field Guides.
Bonaparte, Charles-Lucien, Prince. 11 December 1854. "Coup d'Oeil sur les Pigeons (troisième partie): Columba schimperi." Compte Rendu Hebdomadaire des Séances de l'Académie des Sciences, tome trente-neuvième (juillet-décembre 1854): 1107. Paris, France: Mallet-Bachelier.
Available via Biodiversity Heritage Library @ http://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/2820288
Geyr von Schweppenburg, H. Frhr. (Hans Freiherr). 1916. "Neue Formen aus dem nördlichen Afrika: Columba livia targia n. subsp." Ornithologische Monatsberichte, 24 jahrgang, no. 4: 58-59. Berlin, Germany: R. Friedländer & Sohn.
Available via Biodiversity Heritage Library @ http://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/8762358
Gmelin, Johann Friedrich. 1789. "Columba livia." Caroli a Linné Systema Naturae, tom. I, pars II: 769. Lipsaie [Leipzig]: Impensis Georg Emanuel Beer.
Available via Biodiversity Heritage Library @ http://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/2656264
Gray, G.R. (George Robert). 1856. "10. Columba gymnocyclus. The Western African Pigeon." List of the Specimens of Birds in the Collection of the British Museum, part IV Columbae: 28. London UK: Taylor and Francis.
Available via Biodiversity Heritage Library @ http://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/19059334
Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia, 2nd edition. Volumes 8-11, Birds I-IV, edited by Michael Hutchins, Jerome A. Jackson, Walter J. Bock and Donna Olendorf. Farmington Hills MI: Gale Group, 2002.
Hume, A.O. (Allan Octavian). 1873. "788 (bis). Columba neglecta, Sp. nov.?" Lahore to Yārkand. Incidents of the Route and Natural History of the Countries Traversed, Part II Natural History, Chapter I Ornithology: 272-273. London UK: L. Reeve & Co.
Available via Internet Archive @ https://archive.org/stream/lahoretoyrkandi00humegoog#page/n391/mode/1up
Meinertzhagen, Richard. 1928.  "Columba livia dakhlae, subsp. nov." Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club, vol. XLVIII (1927-1928): 116. London UK: Witherby & Co.
Available via Biodiversity Heritage Library @ http://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/40501163
Peterson, Alan P., M.D. "Columba livia Gmelin 1789." Zoonomen: Zoological Nomenclature Resource > Birds of the World -- Current Valid Scientific Avian Names > Columbiformes > Columbinae > Columba.
Available @ http://www.zoonomen.net/avtax/colu.html
Sarudny, N. (Nicolai); H. Baron Loudon. 1906. "Zum Material Über Asiatischen Pterocles und Columba: Columba livia gaddi subsp. nov." Ornithologische Monatsberichte, XIV jahrgang: 7&8 (Juli/August): 133-134. Berlin, Germany: R. Friedländer & Sohn.
Available via Biodiversity Heritage Library @ http://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/8766637
Strickland, H.E. (Hugh Edwin). 1844. "Notes on Mr. Blyth's List of Birds From the Vicinity of Calcutta: 161. . . Columba intermedia." The Annals and Magazine of Natural History, Including Zoology, Botany, and Geology, vol. XIII: 39. London UK: R. and J.E. Taylor.
Available via Biodiversity Heritage Library @ http://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/22067972
Zedlitz, O. (Otto) Graf. July 1912. "Von Suez zum Sankt Katharinen-Kloster: Columbia livia palaestinae subsp. nov." Journal für Ornithologie, 60 jahrgang, no. 3 (Juli): 339-340. Leipzig, Germany: L.A. Kittler.
Available via Biodiversity Heritage Library @ http://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/11855705


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