Thursday, December 18, 2014

Band-tailed Pigeon

In the United States, Band-tailed Pigeons occur in two, non-overlapping areas. These populations are considered to be racially distinct, with one occurring from southern British Columbia through California. The other is found from Utah and Colorado south into Mexico. Banding studies show that some individuals trespass between these two ranges (Keppie and  Braun 2000). Other races occur from Mexico into South America. This photo, taken several years ago, is of a dove in the treetops above the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge.

Band-tailed Pigions have a long nesting season—up to three nests per year—but most clutches have but one egg. Nestlings are “fed curd-like crop milk” produced by both parents. These doves descend from their foothill forests to devour wild and domestic fruits and grains (Keppie and  Braun 2000). Hunting greatly reduced Band-tailed Pigeon numbers in the early 1900s. Hunting still occurs, but this pressure no longer appears to be affecting overall population size. Nevertheless, Breeding Bird Surveys indicate this dove is "decreasing at an average annual rate of 2.8% across its North American range" (Keppie and  Braun 2000).

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