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  • New Orleans Educational Article of the Month - The Biology of Pigeons

The Biology of Pigeons

The Biology of Pigeons

Columba livia, commonly known as pigeons are known for their gray bodies. They have a pale white rump and a pronounced band on their tails. Their body color may vary from black to white but they commonly have red feet. When gliding, their wings are always raised at an angle.

These birds are highly dependent on man to provide them with a home and also food. Thy typically live in New Orleans farm yards, feed mills, bridges, city buildings, grain elevators and parks. Their nests are normally built on the most readily available materials on the structures mentioned above.

Their Feeding Habits
They primarily feed on grains and seeds. You will mostly find them picking the food where it has been spilled or improperly stored. They can also feed from dustbins, insects and also livestock manure. In many town places, feeding of pigeons is seen as a recreational activity. They need about 35ml of water a day and rely on stagnant water or drink from snowy areas.

Behavior of Pigeons
The Louisiana pigeon has been considered to be a very vicious pest especially by farmers of grain. They live in lofts, attics, steeples and hidden spots in abandoned buildings. They especially choose spots that will allow loafing, roosting and nesting. They are not solitary birds and mainly feed in groups. Also, when resting in the nights, they prefer places that can accommodate the parents and their young.

Pigeons are predominantly monogamous birds. Around ten days after mating, female pigeons lay one or two eggs which normally hatch after 17-20 days. The New Orleans male pigeons are responsible for the nesting materials during this time and they also offer protection for the females and their nests. Young pigeons are fed on milk from both the male and female parents. This milk is a whitish substance secreted on all mature pigeons’ crops regardless of their gender. After about four to six weeks of age, the young are strong enough to leave their parents’ nests. Female pigeons often lay eggs before their previous children have left the nests. Breeding occurs in all seasons, but it may be at its peak on the months of fall and spring. A group of peg ions normally has an equal number of females and males.

Their Life-span
Caged New Orleans pigeons have a lifespan of around 15 years but they may live longer depending on the treatment they receive and the conditions of their home. However, wild pigeons rarely live to see 5 years. In fact, a large percentage of wild pigeons live for about 3 years before dying. The causes of death may be diseases, predation and also lack of sufficient water and food

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