A Pocket Guide to Pigeon Watching (2021, Workman Publishing Company) 4 stars

Part field guide, part history, part ornithology primer, and altogether fun.

Fact: Pigeons are amazing, …

A nice book that tells you all you really wanted to know about pigeons.

4 stars

A nice and fascinating book that gives a look at a bird we are all probably very familiar with: the pigeon (to be more precise, the feral Rock Pigeon). From how it came to be, the various breeds that eventually came to form the pigeon, its behaviour, and we can live with it, this book will give you a good and quick guide. It also has a number of good illustrations of pigeon, which is no surprise as the author also publishes good web comics on nature at [ ].

Chapter one gives an overview of the family of pigeons (and doves): their natural history, some species of pigeons to be found and how the common (or rock) pigeon came to be found in human habitats all over the world.

Chapter two looks at the history of the relationship between the pigeon and humans. Domesticated in prehistoric times, the pigeon became a source of food and fertilizer for people. Later on, they became prized birds for breeders and a way to send messages over long distances. But the rise of other ways to communicate and other sources of food (like chickens) began to make pigeons unpopular.

Chapter three looks at the anatomy of pigeons from the outside in. Interesting parts include its lungs and air sacs that give birds a more efficient breathing system, a four chambered heart that evolved independently to that of mammals, and the mental abilities of birds and pigeons.

Chapter four looks at various pigeon breeds. Depending on what people want, pigeons have been bred to race, for meat, to show extremes of plumage, postures or other characteristics.

Chapter five gives an interesting summary on the genetics of current feral pigeons. A brief introduction to genetics and dominant and recessive traits is given first. Then, a quick summary of the various traits that control the colours of pigeons and the various combinations of patterns is presented, along with illustrations of the various patterns.

Chapter six looks at the behaviour of pigeons: the way they sound, fly and walk, find food and mates, build nests and raise their young.

Chapter seven gives some general advice on what to do to get rid of or care for pigeons. The best advice is to look for local pigeon or wildlife organizations that can help, as well as found more research.

An extra section at the end talks about other birds that can be seen in urban areas besides pigeons. These include birds that hunt pigeons like falcons and eagles, other kinds of pigeons, and other urban birds.