BIRDS OF ICELAND : Columba livia, rock pigeon or feral pigeon

Columba livia; The rock dove originally descended from north-western African (Atlas mountains) populations. Presently it is one of the most common birds of the planet. It adapted to humans because it has found out that stone buildings can be used as nesting grounds like rocky mountain cliffs. As such it is known as the feral pigeon. It is also known for its extreme capability to find "home" after it has been taken away from home for hundreds or even thousands of kilometers. In the past it has been used as a communication medium (the pigeon would be taken along by the traveler; a written message was tied to the feet of the pigeon and it would fly back home). Even today it is used as a sporting bird in many countries. Charles Darwin was very much inspired by the knowledge of breeders of these birds for his evolution theory. Often naturalists i.e. ornithologists become thrilled by rare sightings and pay little attention to the common birds, let alone feral "pests". However, one should also admire these birds and respect it for its exceptional characteristics (see also my comments on the dandelion). On Iceland the feral pigeon lives only in urban areas and occasionally around farmsteads.

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A brief introduction to Iceland birds
Text & Photographs by Dick Vuijk
- unless stated otherwise

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Show other photo's of the feral pigeon:
 Another feral pigeon.
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 Another feral pigeon.
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