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I’ve acquired a few more pigeon books to my little collection. The first was given to me by a friend, the second I found in a charity store, and the third, a little booklet, I ordered online. The three books are: Pigeons by Carl Naether (1984), Doves by Michael Gos (1989) and Feral Pigeons by Richard F. Johnston (1998).

Although these publications are old, they all favour the pigeon and dove, and therefore are worth a read.

An excerpt from “Pigeons”:

“Pigeon keeping is a delightful, educational activity for young and old alike. In this hobby, you deal with lovely, live birds which you can easily tame, and whose life cycle, from the eggs to the full-grown birds, you can observe at close range day in and day out. This affords you an excellent opporutinity to learn at firsthand how one of the most popular domesticated creatures propagates and maintains its kind.” (page 8 )

A little excerpt from the “Doves” book:

“Doves may be one of the most misunderstoon creatures in the animal kingdom. Throughout history, man has never allowed the dove to be himself. Instead, doves have always been a symbol of something else. … Perhaps it is this symbolism that makes a dove an attractive house pet to so many people.” (page 8 )

The first two books are more manuals on how to house, feed and care for pigeons and doves. The feral pigeon booklet is a more scientific read about the life of these birds in the wild, touching on the origins of feral pigeons, plumage variation and selection, breeding and reproductive data, as well as their relationship to people. I found these two quotes honest and important to note:

“Humans are responsible for creating domestic pigeons, and by extension also for the existence of feral populations. Humans have an obligation to treat all these pigeons in a humane manner.” (page 13)

“Pigeons are also elegant creatures of style and grace aloft, and are otherwise beautiful to watch. Our world is brightened by them.” (page 14)


If you would like the booklet you can either read it on their website: http://www.emporia.edu/ksn/v45n2-december1998/index.html, request to have one posted to you (email them with your request) or click on this link for an downloadable copy: Feral pigeons PDF.

* * * *

Previous posts about my pigeon book collection: My pigeon books, Pigeon books on order and Pigeon breeds – book

Pigeons and doves have a long history with the Olympics. From 700 BC to 300 AD homing pigeons were used in the Olympic games. In fact, the quickest way to share the results were by homing pigeon.

Doves were released as a symbol of peace after the cauldron was lit at the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympic Games in 1986. This became a tradition from 1920. At the 1988 Seoul Games the order was reversed and many doves were inadvertently burnt alive, causing an outcry from animal welfare charities, resulting in the end of the tradition.

At the London 2012 Olympic Games the message of peace was symbolised by the ‘release’ of the Dove bikes: 75 riders who rode around the stadium ring wearing large dove wings:

For more information please visit: Opening Ceremony: The secrets behind the ‘dove bikes’

I know I cannot avoid it, I know it will be upon us, but I’m mostly uninterested in the upcoming Olympics. However, one piece of news about the 2012 Olympics caught my eye:

London 2012: Olympic dove plane unveiled

3 April 2012 Last updated at 15:34

British Airways has repainted the first of nine A319s with a dove design to mark the London 2012 Olympics.

The artwork by designer Pascal Anson was the result of a contest run by the company and judged by artist Tracey Emin.

It will be seen for the first time on BA’s 1420 Heathrow to Copenhagen flight on Tuesday.

From: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-17600839

The designer Pascal Anson, says that “He chose the dove because as well as being a symbol of peace and social unity, it was used in ancient Olympics as a messenger to send Games reports to outlying villages, and the bird also played a role in Olympics ceremonies such as that at the last London Games in 1948.”

In the video the reporter states that “They’re calling them celebratory aircrafts for the London 2012 games, describing the dove as ‘sweet, lovely and peaceful’.” (Then he ruins it by saying, “Would you agree?”)

It’s nice to see the dove is still being championed as a symbol of peace. Since there is no scientific difference between a dove and a pigeon, will we be able to convince the masses to view the feral pigeon the same as the dove? :) Maybe we should rename all pigeons as “doves” and peoples perception of them will change? What do you think?

More about the new dove planes:

3 April 2012 Last updated at 12:50

London 2012: British Airways Olympics dove plane unveiled

By Michael Hirst
BBC 2012

BA plane painted with London 2012 dove design
It took a 10-strong team 950 man hours to paint the A319 – which carries 132 passengers and is one of the smaller passenger planes in BA’s fleet

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Well, actually, it’s a plane painted to look like a bird.

British Airways has repainted the first of nine A319s with a dove design to mark the London 2012 Olympics. The artwork by Brighton-based designer Pascal Anson will be seen for the first time on BA’s 1420 Heathrow to Copenhagen flight on Tuesday.

The design is the result of a contest, run by the company with the aim of promoting British talent in the run up to the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Turner prize-nominated artist Tracey Emin was on the judging panel which picked Mr Anson’s design from hundreds of entries last July, and she has mentored the Kingston University design tutor throughout the project.

Inspired by planes he saw flying in and out of Gatwick during his commute, Anson said that as a three-dimensional designer, he wanted to turn something ordinary into something extraordinary, while playing with people’s perceptions of flying objects.

“I wanted to do something that would make people stop and think differently about what they were looking at,” he told the BBC. “I’ve often looked up at aircraft landing and wondered if it’s a bird or a plane, and the idea developed from there.”

Scale of a dove

He chose the dove because as well as being a symbol of peace and social unity, it was used in ancient Olympics as a messenger to send Games reports to outlying villages, and the bird also played a role in Olympics ceremonies such as that at the last London Games in 1948.

Pascal Anton with Tracey Emin Tracy Emin mentored Pascal Anson throughout the project

Although Anson wanted to avoid creating a photographic representation of a bird, he did want the design to be dove-like, which meant BA for the first time has painted the whole of the plane’s livery, rather than just its tail-fin.

This created both design and artistic challenges, in terms of scale – as an A319 is 500 times larger than a dove – and surface, in terms of trying to get the soft lines of the dove’s feathers onto the hard metallic surface of the plane.

He wanted to use a metallic colour but metallic paints are not allowed on aircraft as they interfere with radar signal so a new mica resin was mixed to give the bright gold finish – a colour which the team have dubbed “dove gold”.

BA’s operations manager for external appearance, David Barnes, said the job was the most complex his team had undertaken – both because of the intricacy of the design, and the fact that it encompassed the whole plane.

Emin praised the completed work at the plane’s unveiling on Tuesday, saying she liked the way it “brings back back the excitement of travel”.

“I will constantly be looking up every time I hear a plane fly over,” she said. “You never know, maybe I will turn into a plane-spotter.”

From: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17565838

There’s something so beautiful about a pure white pigeon or dove.

There seems to be a problem in North America: too many doves look alike! :)

So the solution? Your very own dove identification chart:

Dove Dilemma

The half-dozen most common doves in North America have a certain sameness about them–they tend to be grayish-brown with small heads, pointed bills, and pinkish feet. But they do have key distinguishing features that will help you nail the correct ID. Study the keys to identifcation below. You can also learn more about each bird in our online bird guide by clicking on its name. With a little effort you’ll solve the dove dilemma!

MournDove_ChristianeDornbusch_IL10.gif EurasianCollaredDove_PaulDianeJamesson_FL09.gif
Mourning Dove
Christiane Dornbusch, IL

Keys to ID:

Length: 12 inches

Black spots on wings

Slender body

Long pointed tail

Eurasian Collared-Dove
Paul & Diane Jamesson, FL

Keys to ID:

Length: 13 inches

Black band on nape of neck

Heavier than Mourning Dove

Square tail

CommGroundDove_CameronRognan_CLO.gif WhiteWingedDove_RichardLee_TX10.gif
Common Ground Dove
Cameron Rognan, Cornell Lab

Keys to ID:

Length: 6.5 inches

Scalloped feathers at nape

Short neck, stubby wings

Compact body, short tail

White-winged Dove
Teri Zambon, TX

Keys to ID:

Length: 11.5 inches

White strip on edge of folded wing

Plain back, no spots

Shorter tail than Mourning Dove

IncaDove_TimSpringer_TX10.gif WhiteTippedDove_DarrinOBrieb_TX08.gif
Inca Dove
Tim Springer, TX

Keys to ID:

Length: 8.5 inches

Scalloped feathers with scaly pattern

Small but long tailed

Tail edged with white

White-tipped Dove
Darrin O’Brien, TX

Keys to ID:

Length: 11.5 inches

Pale face and underparts

Short tail and short, broad wings

South Texas only

(The above info and photos are from: http://www.birdsource.org/gbbc/learning/trickyIDs/dove-dilemma.)

Now you wouldn’t find it hard to identify these doves:

The World’s Most Beautiful and Colorful Doves

Jun 10th, 2009 by BrenNolasco

Here are the 15 most colorful and prettiest doves in the world.

Doves and pigeons belong to family columbidae and are used interchangeably. In ornithological practice, dove is used for smaller species while pigeon is for larger ones. Here are the 15 most colorful and prettiest doves in the world.

1. Orange Dove (Ptilinopus victor)

The attractive Orange Dove is a one of the most colorful doves. This lovely bird is distributed and native to the islands in the Pacific like Fiji, Vanua Levu, Laucala, Oamea, Rabi and Taveuni. It is also commonly known as Flame Dove

2. Pink-headed Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus porphyreus)

The small but colorful Pink-headed Fruit-dove is a resident breeding native bird in Indonesia. It inhabits the mountain forests of Bali, Java and Sumatra. It is a shy and inconspicuous species. It is also informally known as Pink-necked Fruit-dove or Temminck’s Fruit Pigeon.

3. Jambu Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus jambu)

The colorful Jambu Fruit-dove is a resident breeding bird in the islands of Kalimantan, Java and Sumatra in Indonesia including Brunei, Malaysia and Thailand. This species occurs in mangrove swamps and lowland rainforests up to 1,500 m and is also found in second growth woodland.

4. White-bellied Green Pigeon (Treron sieboldii)

The beautiful White-bellied Green-pigeon’s natural habitat is temperate forests. It can be found in Russia, China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.

5. Ruddy Cuckoo Dove (Macropygia emiliana)

File:Macropygia emiliana (Ruddy Cuckoo Dove)8.jpg

The uniquely colored Ruddy Cuckoo-dove is a bird that can be found in Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia. It is a species of bird in the columbidae family.

6. Beautiful Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus pulchellus)

The Beautiful Fruit-dove found on the rainforest of New Guinea is 19 cm (7½ in) long. It can also be found in the islands of Batanta, Salawati, Waigeo and Misool and West Papua in Indonesia. It is also colloquially known as the Rose-fronted Pigeon or Crimson-capped Fruit-dove.

7. Brush Bronzewing (Phaps elegans)

The Brush Bronzewing is native to the ‘land down under – Australia’ and its natural habitat is tropical and subtropical dry forests.

8. Many-colored Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus perousii)

The Many-colored Fruit-dove can be found in south-west Pacific Ocean specifically on the islands of Fiji, Samoa and Tonga. It occurs in subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests. Its favorite fruit is fig.

9. Thick-billed Green-pigeon (Treron curvirostra)

The Thick-billed Green-pigeon is a colorful bird that can be found in South and Southeast Asia. Its natural habitats are tropical and subtropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical mangrove forests of the Philippines, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. It can also be found in Bhutan, China, Hong Kong India and Nepal.

10. Coroneted Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus coronulatus)

File:Ptilinopus coronulatus -Central Park Zoo-8a.jpg
The Coroneted Fruit-dove of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea inhabits subtropical or tropical dry forests and subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests.

11. Common Bronzewing (Phaps chalcoptera)

The Common Bronzewing is endemic to Australia one of its most common pigeons. It is able to live in almost any habitat, with the possible exception of very barren areas and dense rainforests. On the average, it reaches between 30–36 cm or 12–14 inches in length.

12. Superb Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus superbus)

The colorful and medium-sized Superb Fruit-dove grows up to 24 cm long. Males are more colorful than females but both sexes have yellow eyes and eye-rings. Other Common names of this species is Purple-crowned Fruit-dove.

13. Emerald Dove (Chalcophaps indica)

The Emerald Dove of South Asia specifically Pakistan and Sri Lanka builds a scant stick nest in a tree of up to 5 meters. This lovely-looking dove is also informally known by the names of Green Dove and Green-winged pigeon.

14. Mariana Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus roseicapilla)

The Mariana Fruit-dove is endemic to the Pacific islands of Guam and the Northern Marianas. This small but colorful dove grows up to 24 cm long. Its diet consists mainly of fruits and is also known locally as Mwee’mwe in the Carolinian language, Totot on Guam or Paluman Totut in Northern Mariana Islands.

15. Rose Crowned Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus regina)

The medium-sized Rose-crowned Fruit-dove of Australia occurs in lowland rainforests and monsoon forests. It can be found also in Lesser Sunda Islands and Maluku Islands of Indonesia. It is also commonly known as Pink-capped Fruit-dove or Swainson’s Fruit-dove.

I hope you have had a wonderful time reading this. Thanks!

(From: http://www.bukisa.com/articles/107387_the-worlds-most-beautiful-and-colorful-doves#ixzz1GEOXYULC)

I’ve always wanted a locket. Maybe I’m just a romantic (or still a little girl), but I find lockets so special and beautiful. However, I never got around to buying one. I guess I’m waiting for that special someone to give me one for, say, on an anniversary or birthday (hint hint, hubby). Then I got to thinking (uh oh, that’s dangerous) and realised that I’d love to have a locket with a pigeon engraved/painted/embossed on it, because pigeons are so very dear to me. So I did a bit of research and I have to say I’m very disappointed. I put “pigeon locket” in a search engine and found that there are practically no lockets with feral pigeons on them. The only one I could find is this one, which I find quite quirky (but not romantic):

ROAR Like a Pigeon Recycled Magnetic Locket Set by Polarity

ROAR Like a Pigeon Recycled Magnetic Locket Set by Polarity

Typing “dove locket” into a search engine is a different story. There are a multitude of “the dove of peace” lockets out there, mainly because of the religious symbolism of the white dove (see Pigeon Symbolism).

I don’t want to be dismissive towards the beautiful white dove/pigeon but I connect more with the grey feral pigeon and would like that depicted in a locket. However, I do find this dove of peace locket very pretty: Harmony, dove of peace by cocoachuchu

Harmony, dove of peace by cocoachuchu

I think I will have to commission a feral pigeon locket – probably on etsy.com since I’ve seen a few artists there whose style I like, such as birds of oregon and verabel.

Hopefully, one day I’ll receive a beautiful pigeon locket from my gorgeous wonderful husband. (Am I trying to hard here, ladies? Do you think he’s got the hint? :) )

We’ve all heard about white doves being released at weddings, anniversaries, funerals, memorials and other events and celebrations, however, what many of us don’t realise (myself included until I did some research) is that the white doves are in fact white racing/homing pigeons (Columba livia) that have been trained and have the instinct to fly home.

In fact, some people release white ringneck doves (Streptopelia risoria), which are completely unsuitable for releasing since they have no homing instinct and will in fact hang around to either die of starvation or be eaten by birds of prey. They do not fly home and therefore should never be released! (If you do in the UK then you could be prosecuted by the RSPCA for animal cruelty.) The ringneck dove is a domesticated species and the white colour is a common colour mutation of the species: Species Information – Ringneck Dove – White Mutation

The following professional dove release websites state how important it is to book professionals who train the correct species for release: White Dove Release Professionals, Lovey Dovey UK and Wings of Love.

The Professional Standards of members of the International White Dove Society state:

Rules of Release

  1. We release only well trained, well cared for WHITE DOVES from white racing pigeon stock. These are also known as Rock Doves or Columba livia. Under no circumstance are other types of doves ever released, although other types may be used for display.
  2. We only release doves out-of-doors during daylight hours.
  3. We never release birds if the conditions become unsafe due to weather or unforeseen circumstances.
  4. We will not release birds beyond a range that they are able to safely fly.
  5. We use only well trained birds for releases.
  6. While birds are being held for display, we assure that they are in baskets that are large enough to be comfortable and safe.  The baskets or cages will be kept in safe areas, not too hot or too cold.
  7. We never ship birds for self release.

For the rest please visit: http://whitedovesociety.org/standards-to-link.htm

The following is from Pigeon Angels:

As part of “White Dove Releases”, domestic ringneck doves are sometimes mistakenly or cruelly released instead of trained white homing pigeons.

The link below shows photos comparing a domestic white dove (Ringneck Dove) with a white homing pigeon (Rock Dove). http://www.white-dove-releases.com/faq.htm

Please note !
Eye color is not a reliable way to tell the difference between a white dove and a white pigeon. Some white ringneck doves have very dark eyes – such as the Bulleyed White (genetically, a white pied). http://www.dovepage.com/species/domestic/Ringneck/ringneckcolorlist.html

The easiest way to tell the difference between doves and (adult) pigeons is that ringneck doves have no flesh on their bills at all.

If you want to have doves released on a special occassion, then please ensure you book from a professional business that use white racing pigeons not white ringneck doves. There is really no point in marring a special day with animal cruelty (not that animal cruelty is acceptable on any occassion).

Is there a difference between a dove and a pigeon? Technically, no. There is no difference. “Dove” and “pigeon” are just names used to call the different bird species of the Columbidae family. In the simplest understanding, smaller species are called “doves” and the larger species “pigeons”, however, this is not a hard and fast rule.

The word “dove” has purer connotations, whilst “pigeon” can arouse a variety of reactions, ranging from indifference to disgust, fear to hatred. This is a shame since they are one and the same. But as Dr. Jean Hansell so nicely put: “People just don’t make the connection between the dove of peace and the pigeon in the street.” *

(For many people, though, the word “pigeon” will make them smile with love.)

It is quite funny how the so called “white dove” can be considered cleaner and nicer than a feral pigeon – considering that the white dove is in fact simply a white coloured racing pigeon. These white pigeons are commonly released at events such as weddings and graduations. (Not to be confused with the white ringneck dove species that has no homing instinct and should never be released at events!) It may simply be that the colour white is associated with kindness, purity and cleanliness in people’s minds – regardless of what type of bird it is.

Some people make a difference between racing pigeons, fancy pigeons and the common feral pigeon, however, when you strip away their seperate names, you’re simply left with a pigeon – albeit ones bred for different purposes. But neither type are better than the other. Some come in fancy shapes and colours, some can race, and some can clean up the food litter dropped by careless humans. They all deserve respect and in many cases, admiration.


Some may call this a dove, others may call it a white pigeon


Diamond dove


Feral pigeons - in many different colours


Collared dove


Stock dove


Archangel breed of fancy pigeon


Some may call this a dove due to her petite features, others may call her a fancy pigeon

* Blechman, Andrew D. (2006). Pigeons: The fascinating saga of the world’s most revered and reviled bird. Grove Press, New York.

Cooing comes in many different sounds: honks, squeaks, and in high and low tones. I love cooing doves. I find them comical.

Skip ahead to 0:22 for his adorable coo:

Wonder what he’s laughing at! :)