Feral pigeons (Columba livia) can easily be overlooked as we go about our daily lives. Yet, these seemingly familiar birds have many secrets still to reveal. The fact that they have been successful is clear, yet the means behind their success is less understood. Descended from the rock dove which traditionally nested on cliffs, domesticated birds inevitably escaped and founded feral populations across the globe.
Scientists have long wondered why feral pigeon populations show such plumage diversity compared to other feral animals. Generally, feral animals revert to the wild or ancestral type (in this case a blue-bar colouration), yet towns and cities are full of pigeons of a wide variety of colours. The question is, what causes this variation? Is it that female pigeons are choosing particular coloured males or vice versa? Are particular coloured pigeons more or less vulnerable to predation?
Given that the ancestral rock dove populations were all of the same colouration, what is the process behind any differences in mate choice by either sex and are certain coloured pigeons more productive?
My name is Adam Rogers and I am investigating the trends currently found in feral pigeon plumages and hoping to uncover some fascinating findings.
With YOUR help, I hope to build up a nationwide picture of feral pigeons in the 21st century.
There are sure to be many new findings to be had which may not only tell us about feral pigeon ecology but also the ecology of other bird species.
I look forward to sharing with you the findings of prior research and my own future projects.