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Pigeons and Doves

Doves and pigeons are among the most recognizable of birds – in part because of their close association with humans. Although they are regular patrons at bird feeders, doves and pigeons generally feed on spilled seeds that accumulate beneath feeders.

Pigeons are residents of even the most urban of city streets, regularly nesting on windowsills and taking advantage of crumbs dropped on sidewalks and the largesse of passersby. The bird we simply call “pigeon” originally nested on cliff ledges in European coastal areas where it could find food washed ashore by tidal action. They easily took to the windowsills and other recesses of human cliffs (buildings) and quickly became semi-domesticated. From this close association, it was learned that they would return to the same roost site night after night – and from great distances. That led to their use in sending messages – and “pigeon corps” were formed by armies around the world, allowing messages to be sent back to headquarters from the front lines.

At least six species of doves and pigeons are well-established in Florida. The Rock Pigeon or Rock Dove (just “pigeon” to most) was brought to North America by early colonists. Mourning Dove is our most common Dove, followed by Common Ground Dove, then White-winged Dove are White-crowned Pigeon are less common and commonly sought by birders. The latest entry, the Eurasian Collared Dove is a recent introduction from Asia that has now spanned the continent and whose populations continue to grow.