21 Amazing Facts About Pigeons

How old are pigeons?
Pigeons have lived alongside man for thousands of years with the first images of pigeons being found by archaeologists in Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) and dating back to 3000 BC.  It was the Sumerians in Mesopotamia that first started to breed white doves from the wild pigeon that we see in our towns and cities today and this undoubtedly accounts for the amazing variety of colors that are found in the average flock of urban pigeons.  To ancient peoples a white pigeon would have seemed miraculous and this explains why the bird was widely worshipped and considered to be sacred.  Throughout human history the pigeon has adopted many roles ranging from symbols of gods and goddesses through to sacrificial victims, messengers, pets, food and even war heroes!

Research finds bluebird mothers give sons extra dose of androgen when antagonized

A trio of researchers has found that western bluebird mothers add a little extra androgen to clutches of eggs during times when there is competition for nest cavities. In their paper published in the journal Science, University of Arizona biologists Renée Duckworth, Virginia Belloni and Samantha Anderson describe how they conducted a ten year field study of the bird species and also carried out some experiments to learn more about induced maternal effects on the cycle of species replacement. Ben Dantzer, with the University of Michigan, offers a Perspectives piece on the work by the team in the same journal edition.

 This is an Eastern bluebird (Sialia sialis). Credit: Kitty Kono
This is an Eastern bluebird (Sialia sialis). Credit: Kitty Kono

Lovebird Breeding Problems

Watching a pair of Lovebirds as they bond, and then court and rear their young is one of the most rewarding of all parrot-keeping experiences. 

Unlike many parrots, Lovebirds are often happy to settle down and breed in modestly-sized cages, and most make fine parents. 

But while mated pairs may produce clutch after clutch of eggs, aggression (to owner and mate), infertility, ailing chicks, and a host of problems can arise – many of which take owners by surprise. 

Care and breeding of the Silver-eared Mesia

The Silver-eared Mesia (Leiothrix argentauris) from Southern and Central Asia, is a cousin to the very popular Pekin Robin. Mesias are incredibly hardy, easily able to stand temperatures a few degrees below freezing. The loud voice of the male makes them unsuitable for a cage in the house.

Care and breeding of the Silver-eared Mesia

Hormone sensitive gene regulation in seasonal singing birds

Nature lovers are fascinated by the increasing number of singing birds when spring is approaching. Scientists also take advantage of this seasonal phenomenon because they are able to investigate the underlying mechanism, however the evolutionary and molecularbiological background is largely unknown. A team of researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen and from the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin have now identified the genome of the canary. With these data they were able to decipher the evolution of hormone-sensitive gene regulation in seasonal singing birds.

 Canary song is regulated by hormones. Credit: MPI f. Ornithology/ S. Seltmann

Canary song is regulated by hormones. Credit: MPI f. Ornithology/ S. Seltmann

Brain Food for your birds

The brain, while not taking up much space compared to the rest of your body, needs energy. A lot of energy. It’ll tear through calories while you are just sitting there thinking. Our birds are pretty smart little creatures as well. And those brains they are using need fuel.

Brain Food

Gouldian finch | basic breeding

Before deciding to breed your gouldians, you need to make sure you have allotted the space, time, and money it may take to set your birds up for breeding and to accommodate the young which they might produce. 

You will need a separate cage in which to house the young once they are weaned, and you will need to decide if you are ultimately going to keep the babies or find other homes for them. 

Once your decision is made, the following guidelines should aid you in breeding your finches:

Cock (left) has more vibrant and more extensive coloring than the paler, less well-marked hen (right).

14 Facts about robins

With its bright red breast it is familar throughout the year and especially at Christmas! Males and females look identical, and young birds have no red breast and are spotted with golden brown.
Robins sing nearly all year round and despite their cute appearance, they are aggressively territorial and are quick to drive away intruders. They will sing at night next to street lights.

European robin

Bird 'paints' its own eggs with bacteria to protect the embryo

 Researchers from the University of Granada and the Higher Council of Scientific Research (CSIC) have found that hoophoes cover their eggs with a secretion produced by themselves, loaded with mutualistic bacteria, which is then retained by a specializad structure in the eggshell and which increases successful hatching. So far this sort of behaviour has only been detected in this species of birds, and it is a mechanism to protect their eggs from infections by pathogens.

A hoophoe Credit: JC BALLESTEROS