Pigeon Fun Facts About Birds

Chirp chirp! Some fun feathery pigeon facts are flying in today at Light Future Art. Enjoy!

Pigeon Standing in Grass1. All pigeons are descended from rock doves. The first domestic pigeons can be seen in artwork dating to 4500 BC in Iraq. Pigeons seen in the wild are actually feral pigeons. They can interbreed with domestic breeds but don’t need to be brought inside unless they are injured or sick.

2. Most birds need to tilt their heads upwards while drinking water, but pigeons and doves do not.

3. Not all pigeons are domestic or feral, though. Band-tailed pigeons live in North America. They are thinner than pigeons we commonly see in cities but have the same iridescent feathers on their neck. Band-tailed pigeons live in forests and eat berries, seeds, grains, and acorns.



Colorful Pigeon Feathers4. While pigeons in the wild only eat seeds, grains, and berries, domestic pigeons may have a much more varied diet. Leafy vegetables like lettuce or spinach can be added to their diet, as well as fruits like apples and pears. These types of foods often are included in formulated pigeon food mixtures.

5. Fancy pigeons generally live for 10 to 12 years, but some may live even longer.

6. Racing homing pigeons can fly at almost 100 miles per hour and race distances of several hundred miles at a time. Racing pigeons may be the oldest breed of domestic pigeons, with some evidence showing the sport dating back to the 200s AD.



Mother Pigeon and Babies7. There is currently no worldwide handbook of fancy pigeon breeds for shows. There are generally around 50 breeds, though, including fancy show pigeons, homing pigeons, and racers.

8. The German nun or cross nun pigeons are mostly white with brown feathers on their heads, tails, and wings. When flying, their darker feathers look like a cross. They are one of the oldest domestic pigeon breeds.

9. In the late 19th century, one of the longest homing pigeon flights was recorded. The pigeon was released in Africa and flew over 7,000 miles in less than two months to get back to their home in England.

10. Pigeons are able to distinguish objects through texture, color, and appearance, and in 1995, these abilities were used to train some pigeons to be art critics. Psychologist Shigeru Watanabe taught several pigeons to differentiate the works of Clause Monet and Pablo Picasso, then to differentiate between different styles of painting, and then to judge new artworks and correctly guess which ones received good grades in a class and which ones received poor grades.


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