Columba livia domestica

Common Names: Feral pigeon, domestic pigeon, city dove, city pigeon, street pigeon,
Category: Birds
Sub-category: Pigeons & Doves

The feral pigeon was derived from the rock pigeon. The rock pigeon is the world's oldest domesticated bird. Mesopotamian cuneiform tablets mention the domestication of pigeons more than 5,000 years ago, as do Egyptian hieroglyphics. Trained domestic pigeons are able to return to the home loft if released at a location that they have never visited before and that may be up to 1000 km away. A special breed, called homing pigeons has been developed through selective breeding to carry messages and members of this variety of pigeon are still being used in the sport of pigeon racing and the white release dove ceremony at weddings and funerals. The feral pigeon is a domestic pigeon that has returned to the wild. Feral and domestic pigeons show a variety of plumages, although some look very like pure rock pigeons. The scarcity of the pure wild species is partly due to interbreeding with feral birds. Domestic pigeons can often be distinguished from feral pigeons because they usually have a metal or plastic band around one (sometimes both) legs which shows, by a number on it, that they are registered to an owner.

Feral pigeons are very much adapted to humans and are most often found in residential and urban dwellings. It is common to see them roosting on buildings, power lines, or looking for food on city streets.

Edible Notes: In culinary terminology, squab is a young domestic pigeon or its meat. The meat is widely described as tasting like dark chicken. Squab can sometimes be found in specialty food stores in Connecticut or ordered by your butcher or online.
Warnings: Pigeon breeders sometimes suffer from an ailment known as bird fancier's lung or pigeon lung. A form of hypersensitivity pneumonitis, pigeon lung is caused by the inhalation of the avian proteins found in feathers and dung. They are otherwise not known to be dangerous to humans. They are however often considered an nuisance.