Saturday, January 24, 2009

Do New York Pigeons Migrate

New York Times
The City

Q. Here’s a thought for winter: Do New York pigeons migrate?

A. New York may have snowbirds, but pigeons are not among them.

After researching the question, Anna Dove, the aptly named founder and director of the New York Bird Club, replied: “Pigeons, unlike some other species of birds, do not migrate, and if removed from a nesting area they have a good homing ability and can return from long distances.”

When pigeons are a few months old, she said in an e-mail message, they imprint their location in their brain as “home” and will always return there, unless domesticated into a new home, like a loft.

“They can and will fly many miles away from their roost to find food, but at the end of the day they will always return home, or attempt to, and that is why they are so excellent at carrying messages,” Ms. Dove said.