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Hello, fellow Pigeon Folks,

I made an observation today and thought I would put it out there to see what you guys think. At my usual feral feedings, about ten out of the sixty or so pigeons insist on landing on me to get there grains. The others are not afraid of me, but do not seem to like to have actual contact. These ten who prefer to have contact with me seem to have no limits as to what they will tolerate from me. For example, today, I formed a circle with the thumb and fore finger of my right hand. The circle was around the neck of one of the pigeons in my hand at the time. There was plenty of room between the bird's neck and my fingers...no chance of choking him. I slowly moved the hand that was around the neck of the pigeon to the left and right. The bird followed my movements without any atempt to break free of the fingers circled around his neck. He just kept moving his head along with my fingers. Then, when I removed the circle from him, he stood there patiently waiting for the next handful of grains. Another example of this ability to tolerate my messing with them is this. Sometimes when feeding in my hand, the toe nails of the birds may dig in a little too hard and be somewhat uncomfortable for me. When this happened today, I held the tail of the bird up high enough to relieve some of the pressure on his toenails, lessening the digging into my hand. While doing this, another pigeon landed on my hand and pushed the one I was tail-holding back just enough to malke his feet lose their grip on my hand. The bird fell forward and his crop supported him in my hand while I held his tail in my other hand. The bird continued to eat while both feet were dangling in mid air without any support. When he was finished, he allowed his crop to slide off my hand and the flew to the ground.

Usually, when the food has all been eaten from my hand, a few of the birds will stay there and wait for me to dump more corn in the hand for them to eat. Sometime, I will mess with one by grabing his beak or trying to gently push him off my hand. When I do this to one, in particular, he will always stand his ground. He puffs up, coos and wing slaps my hand, biting and pulling my fingers. Yet, he never give up and leaves.

I find this strange that so called wild birds can become so comfortabe with a person that they allow all kinds of interaction without fleeing the scene. Is it trust or just getting as much food as possible that is foremost in their minds? Perhaps it is a little of both. What do you guys and gals think?


Take care, All, and happy pigeoning,

Mike
 

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That is quite fascinating! I don't have an answer for you tho..... My pigeons don't eat out of my hand! The younger ones will tolerate me, but that is it. You do have a very good point, tho. Very interesting. Congrats on your wild flock!! It sounds like they wait for YOU. Do they exhibit this behavior to other people, or just you? Maybe they trust you a little more? Even so, it is nice to hear! Thank you for sharing your experience with us. :p
 

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Hi, Snowbird,

The pigeons wait for me on a bridge very close to the feeding site. As soon as they see me, they all fly around excitedly. They fly to me, then back to the bridge, then back to me, then to the feeding site, then back to me, repeating this until I reach the feeding site, when they drop out of the sky and land all around me, some of them on my hands and shoulders. It must be quite a sight for the passersby to see a storm of fluttering wings descend to land on and around a person. I have seen many a person stop and look with threir mouths open at the sight, espoecially when I put out my hands and some land there and "ride" to the feeding site. I think it is great.

These birds to not react to anyone except a friend who is with me on a regular basis. If a stranger comes by and wants to have a bird land in his hand (which happens a few time a week), they will not do it unless I am standing right there beside the stranger. Otherwise, they will not land in their hand. Sometimes they escort me to the restaurant where I have breakfast, then go back to the bridge to wait for me to return, which is about fourty-five minutes later. When I leave the restaurant, they either fly about excitedly or fly to meet me and accompany me to the feeding site. When I cross the street to go home when the corn and grains are all gone, they take off and fly away to where ever they hang out all day. If I have to wait at the street to cross, they flock comes over to me, which I do not want them to do as it is near the street. So, when I am done feeding them, I keep a few handsful of grain to throw as they approach me. That keeps them away from the street until I cross. Once I have crossed, they know breakfast is over, and they immediately leave. I am glad they do that. I can't tell you how much I enjoy this and it makes my day.

I am sure that the others of you who have a feral flock that you feed every day observe the same behaviors as I do, but I still consider this flock as "mine" and they must consider me as "theirs". Otherwise, they would not act as they do towards me.

Oh, well. Take care and keep those pigeons flying. Hehe.


Mike
 

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Sound like they have made you an honorary pigeon!:)
 

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Wow ! Is that cool or what ? Makes me feel good just reading about your pigeon pals . I think they like you Mike ;)

I sure wish my birds were that friendly , I've only had them a little over a month but they are beginning to warm up to me and getting a bit more tame as the days go by . I talk to them when I change water and feed them , and whenever I'm outside working I cant resist giving them attention . They still dont like being handled nor will they take food from my hand though .

I think its a trust thing , those 10 birds know you wont hurt them and feel safe around you . Maybe that number will increase as time goes by .

How long have you been working with these birds to get them so tame ?

Bob
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hi Charis,

They made me an honorary pigeon, alright. I spend my hard earned money on their breakfast every day, and what do I get in return?

Mmmmmm, what I get in return is worth a lot more then the money I spend on their breakfast.



Hi Hambone,

I have been feeding this flock for over a year now. Actually, when I first started feeding them, there was only five birds, not much of a flock. But, over time, babies grew up and outsiders found comfort in the flock and it grew. Now that Spring is here, I suspect that it will start growing once again very soon. As a matter of fact, a new bird joined this morning, a pure white one, obvious young. Dirty and muddy from todays rain, it was not much to look at, but when it dries out, it should be a beauty.



Take care all, and happy pigeoning,

Mike
 

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Those are really interesting observations, Mike, and heartwarming too.

I'd say your special gang, though they are drawn by the food you provide, recognize in you someone who cares about them and with whom they can let down their guard. Once a pigeon is into wing slapping, you know he sees you as an equal, not just a lowly human :)

John
 

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Hi Mike,

LOL!! I have to agree with John, you have to take it as a compliment, they consider you an equal and that is quite special.

Thank you for sharing that, I appreciate you tending to their needs.

...and what a doll, the one who stands his ground, sounds like an alpha feral male, and perhaps he's got a round of youngens at home he is tending to, and his mate may be sitting another-they are perhaps making the same demands on him-MORE FOOD.
:p
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I agree with what both of you say, John D and Trees Gray. I do take it as a compliment that they treat me as they do. They are a special group of birds to me. I feel like I know most of them very well. They do have different personalities, and each allows me to interact with them in a different way. I think one of the reasons some of them are so trusting or friendly is that after they eat, I try to play with them. I touch them, talk to them, and do different things to which they seem to get used to and allow. It's like having the best of both worlds...a large flock of birds to enjoy, without the need to clean up after them. I may have changed their lives a bit by making their daily rations a little easier to obtain, but they have changed my life a lot more. I guess only a true pigeon person would understand what I mean.

Oh, well, take care, All.

Mike
 

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LOL! I'll have to remember that when I get "wing-slapped" it is a compliment, and thank my feathered friends! :p Maybe there is hope yet for my jailbirds!! I've had my two breeder pair for 6 months, and they listen to me, but they won't eat out of my hand yet!
You must be special to those birds. I doubt if they had that much "good attention" paid to them, you know. Congrats!:p
 

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Mike, this is a wonderful post describing how sweet pigeons are. To me, it is total trust. My husband feeds pigeons and other birds every day on his morning walks. He has described to me how the flock at one shopping center will fly to meet him, no matter what direction he comes from or what he is wearing. Sometimes he is more than a block away from their feeding site but they "accompany" him there. He says it has been almost embarrassing sometimes because some will actually walk behind him while others fly.

I have observed this trust so often from the rescues we get in. For a day or so they are naturally frightened and shy away from us but as time goes on, the trust builds. We got in a little pigeon about a month ago who was scared but soon settled in. I can move her cage from the laundry room to the kitchen and she doesn't even get up from her nest. I can sweep, mop, clean, etc. all around those we have in the house and they are never concerned.

Your birds know you will not hurt them and have total trust in you. It is a true blessing that I wish more people could recognize.
 

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Those are really interesting observations, Mike, and heartwarming too.

I'd say your special gang, though they are drawn by the food you provide, recognize in you someone who cares about them and with whom they can let down their guard. Once a pigeon is into wing slapping, you know he sees you as an equal, not just a lowly human :)

John
Ahhh memories......I remember how Tutter (another girl, and now a very happily paird up ,free flying, egg laying, busy little girl....) used to land on my hand to gingerly sort through the seeds in my palm.
And while I was thus distracted Gertrude would sneak up behiend me and tie my shoelaces together.

Evil evil evil bird.
;)
 

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Ahhh memories......I remember how Tutter (another girl, and now a very happily paird up ,free flying, egg laying, busy little girl....) used to land on my hand to gingerly sort through the seeds in my palm.
And while I was thus distracted Gertrude would sneak up behiend me and tie my shoelaces together.

Evil evil evil bird.
;)
I ran a small children's petting zoo one summer for the city, and we had a pair of piglets who were about six weeks old and they were EXPERTS at untying my shoelaces! One would distract me by trying to steal some kid's Fudgecicle and the other would have both my shoelaces untied in a second and then they would run off giggling and very pleased with themselves. Luckily they never learned to tie them together!

I have had a couple of pijies who are fascinated by shoelaces...Bernadette especially likes to try to lug a shoe into the nest because he loves shoelaces for nesting material. :p
 
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