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whitehound whitehound is offline
Posted 17th February 2008, 02:34 PM
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 3

feral pigeon colours

Hello. I'm new to this list. My normal passion is rodents - I run a very well-known rat-care website - but I've also taken on several feral pigeons over the years.

I used to have a small shop in Edinburgh, and it seemed as if there was some sort of "tramp sign" scrawled on our door, because injured pigeons kept on turning up at the shop. The first one was found wandering around outside, but numbers two and three actually walked right in through the door and pretty-much demanded to be rescued.

The first one had a badly broken wing, snapped near the wrist. I called an SSPCA inspector to take her in but he said she'd never fly again and it would be cruel to keep her, and tried to put her down, and I had to have a physical tussle with him to stop him from killing her. I shut her in a smallish cat basket for a couple of weeks to prevent her from spreading the wing until it had set, and then passed her to a friend who was doing pigeon rehab at that time, and she made a full recovery and was able to be released back into the wild.

The second was a youngster (still fluffy around the back of the neck) who had been unsuccessful foraging and just needed to be kept in and fed for a few days.

The third was another youngster, an "ordinary" bog-standard grey feral of indeterminate gender but probably male, who I think had been struck by a hawk, because he had a big patch of feathers torn out from between his shoulders, and I know there was a hawk nesting on a building nearby (I once found a freshly-killed but incredibly dead pigeon which had been opened up like a box, just lying on the pavement, so I *know* there was a hawk or falcon there). This bird, Monty, never regained the full power of flight, and perhaps had never fully learned to fly in the first place. He's been lurking in my living room for about two years now, and is very intelligent although not all that friendly.

About six or eight months ago the friend who used to do pigeon rehab passed on to me a female racing pigeon (now called Moira) who had been either hit by a car or shot: we're not sure which, as she was already partly recovered before someone else passed her on to him. One of her ankles is twisted and has a piece of either shot or gravel embedded under the skin, and she can't fly well enough to be released. She was supposed to be a mate for Monty, but they don't like each other much, and if he (? probably he) tries to chat her up she pecks him, and if he gets too close she pulls his feathers, so the best they've managed is a sort of armed truce.

Anyway - that's just establishing my pigeon credentials. The point of this is that I've always been interested in the many colours feral pigeons come in, and I thought I'd seen all sorts. Monty is the standard dark and light grey with greenish iridescence around the neck and chest. Moira is mainly a chestnut brown with off-white flight and tail feathers, pale greyish-buff shoulders and purple iridescence. I've seen them in all shades of grey and brown and white, piebald and skewbald and lace-patterns.

But on Friday in Edinburgh I saw one the like of which I have never seen before, and I wondered if anyone else on this list had. It was a small, rather scruffy pigeon which was poking about on Rose Street, and it was jet black - as black all over as a crow - and then covered all over with a vivid green shimmer like a beetle's wing. I'm nearly fifty and I've been noticing pigeon colours since I was about twelve, and I've never seen another one like it.

Are people on this list aware, incidentally, of the population of pigeons who live in London's Underground system and regularly travel around London by getting inside the tube-trains with the passengers? [This is not a joke or a foaf - they really do.]
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KIPPY KIPPY is offline
Posted 17th February 2008, 03:54 PM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Arizona
Posts: 1,709
Are people on this list aware, incidentally, of the population of pigeons who live in London's Underground system and regularly travel around London by getting inside the tube-trains with the passengers? [This is not a joke or a foaf - they really do.]
I'm not but I would really like to see a picture of that. What a pigeon life.

I have seen a black pij in my yard before, looks cool. I like the variety of coloring but it seems like they don't last long. One year they were all over but not much now.

Mark 1:10
And straightway coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him.
PigeonQueen PigeonQueen is offline
Posted 17th February 2008, 04:10 PM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Country: United Kingdom
Posts: 610
Hello whitehound,

Welcome to pigeon talk!!! This is a great site to find out everything you want to know about PIGEONS and more!!!

I'm also in the London Area and I too have seen pigeons finding their way on to the tubes and buses Please try and catch piggies that get trapped underground because there are alot of people that will be unkind to a pigeon who has difficulty trying to get back on to street level.

I have seen jet black piggies in London; and on a bright, sunny day you can see an overall shimmer as you described, which is not always noticable on a dull day.Try and get a picture next time as it is always exciting to see unusual colour piggies!!!

Thank you for telliing us all about your piggies. A lot of members also have pet piggies flying around their homes, so you are in the right place!!!

Maggie-NC Maggie-NC is offline
Posted 17th February 2008, 05:05 PM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 9,856
Hi Whitehound - welcome to our forum and thank you for helping all the pigeons that have come to your door. My husband and I do rescue work and I would swear that pigeons do approach humans for help. We have seen it happen too many times from either pigeons that approach my husband or ones we get in and found they have gone into shops seeking help. They are very smart birds.

I agree with you that pigeons come in a variety of beautiful colors and pattern combinations. I am especially fond of solid black pigeons. We currently have two solid blacks that will be released this spring. As they mature and their iridescence becomes more prominent, they do shimmer in sunlight.
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TAWhatley TAWhatley is offline
Posted 17th February 2008, 08:15 PM
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Lake Forest, CA, USA
Posts: 21,208
Hi Whitehound and welcome!

We're glad to have you here! We have some members who are rat fans in addition to pigeons! I don't have any rats as pets but did foster two not too terribly long ago .. what delightful creatures!

I have a self black (solid black) pigeon named Ptero, and he is as you described .. black as the ace of spades with shimmering irridescent colors. He's a most handsome fellow if I do say so myself!


Margarret Margarret is offline
Posted 17th February 2008, 08:48 PM
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Southern Calif.
Posts: 2,014
Welcome Whitehound,

I don't have any ferals at the moment, but have seen the solid black ones. Apparently pigeons are unusual in that when birds who have been bred for other colors than the blue bar, which is the wild color, return to the feral condition, they don't revert to the wild color as do most other species. So after years of having other colors introduced into feral populations they now come in nearly every color and pattern imaginable.

I'm so glad you found our site. I think you will find many like minded people as yourself here.

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Skyeking Skyeking is offline
Posted 18th February 2008, 05:27 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Country: United States
Location: SE Coast Central Florida
Posts: 25,397
Hello and Welcome to Pigeon Talk,

You definitely are in GOOD company.

I have a brand new 2008 black baby pigeon (24 days old now), beak and everything on his face is black, except an itty-bitty bit of white on tail and legging! His mom is also solid white and shimmers green on her neck too!!!

Thank you for your active participation in helping our noble ferals!!!

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John_D John_D is offline
Posted 18th February 2008, 09:01 AM
Join Date: Jan 2002
Country: United Kingdom
Location: South East
Posts: 9,478

I have a solid black - and shiny - feral who comes to my balcony to get food and a bath pretty regularly. I believe there's a family of them round here, since I also see another on occasion and had one round quite a while back with only half a beak (now MIA, I fear).

Since you mention Edinburgh, I worked up there a couple of times (last was over 18 months back) and, staying nearby, dropped a few morsels of food from my trusty bag for the pigeons in Rose Street and adjacent lanes most days, as well as a hungry gang in a little pedestrian area in Lothian Road across from Standard Life (virtually my sole knowledge of Edinburgh ).


"Pigeons know more than we think - and think more than we know" ~ John D.
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maryjane maryjane is offline
Posted 18th February 2008, 11:24 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
Posts: 4,808
Welcome! I am one of the people who is also a rat-nut. Had them my whole life and have had a rescue for them for about eight years now. Down to my lowest number--one--at the moment, but had more than 50 at some points over the years! They are such clever and sweet animals.

All-black pigeons aren't that common but are out there. The iridescent coloring (green and purple) is typical of males, and can especially be seen on those sunny days. We would love to see some pictures if you have any....of pigeons or your ratties.
A rescuer's work is never done
"You can judge a society by the way it treats its animals" -Gandhi

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21 Amazing Facts You Might Not Know About Pigeons!

baby pigeon, broken wing, feral pigeon, injured pigeon, injured pigeons, racing pigeon, tail feathers

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