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.

1 comment:

Mark Caponigro said...

Thanks, this is an interesting post.

Perhaps, as the effects of global warming become ever more noticeable, and we move from the Holocene climate to which living creatures are currently adapted, to Something New and Strange and a Bit Scary, New York pigeons may actually thrive here better.

We in the NYC region already observe through the winter many more Canada geese than before, whether these are all-year residents, or migrants from the north who feel no need to fly further south. Unfortunately, in the wake of the recent downing of the passenger jet in the Hudson River, which has been blamed on a flock of Canada geese, the same kind of people who feel justified in exterminating pigeons as a hazard of one kind or another may begin now to start going after the geese.