Uncommon in this Park: Pigeon

Rock Pigeon

Pigeons are common in city parks, but not in Cesar Chavez.  Crows, gulls, blackbirds, swallows, several other winged creatures make a thicker showing here, in season, than pigeons.  And so it seems not inappropriate to memorialize their presence with a photo or two.  These are, officially, Rock Pigeons, Columba livia.  The Cornell bird site gives these cool facts about them:

Pigeons can find their way home, even if released from a distant location blindfolded. They can navigate by sensing the earth’s magnetic fields, and perhaps also by using sound and smell. They can also use cues based on the position of the sun.

Mesopotamian cuneiform tablets and Egyptian hieroglyphics suggest that pigeons were domesticated more than 5,000 years ago. The birds have such a long history with humans that it’s impossible to tell where the species’ original range was.

Rock Pigeons carried messages for the U.S. Army Signal Corps during World War I and II, saving lives and providing vital strategic information.

Charles Darwin kept pigeons for many years after returning from his five-year voyage on the Beagle. His observations on the great variety of pigeon breeds, and the huge differences found between captive breeds and wild pigeons, helped him formulate some aspects of his theory of evolution.

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