By ffetuo | Animals | 27 May 2019

 Pigeons (lat. Columba livia) were tamed by people in ancient times, and since then have managed to firmly go down in the history of mankind. It is believed that all types of modern domestic pigeons originated from them. These birds have always symbolized good and peace, they were used to transmitting messages and to search for missing people. Blue doves are the decoration of famous European squares and eternal inhabitants of big and small cities.
Of course, not everyone is delighted at the sight of a flock of gray doves. Try to admire the pigeon in the presence of a public service worker, and you will hear many comparisons to this omnipresent bird. And, by the way, pigeons are of great benefit to the inhabitants of the city: they eat up the wastes that are thrown away, preventing the disease-causing organisms from breeding.
North Africa, Southern Europe and a part of South-West Asia are considered the birthplace of gray pigeons. In the wild, these birds live in mountain gorges, on cliffs near the seashore or along river cliffs. Very often they can be seen near the shrub thickets or near agricultural land. In cities, wild gray pigeons choose places that are inaccessible to humans for their nests: indentations in abandoned buildings, niches, etc.
These birds feed mainly on plant food. They have only 37 taste buds (people have about 10,000), so pigeons are not at all picky about food. But they have one interesting habit: when feeding, gray pigeons try to eat all the big pieces first thing. Try to fill them with wheat cereal, and after a minute or two, pour out the wheat - the flock will immediately switch to larger grains.
Pigeons are eaten greedily, without hesitation pushing each other and stomping over the heads of their relatives. Some starving and gullible individuals come close to the person and snatch food directly from the hands of the one who feeds. These birds are also drunk in a special way: if other species of birds capture droplets of moisture with their beaks and then throw their heads back so that the water rolls down into the throat, the gray-eyed pigeons simply draw in liquid, as if using an invisible straw.
Pigeon pairs are permanent. During courtship, the gray gentleman spins around the female, walks on her heels and coos loudly. In doing so, he inflates his neck, tilts his head down and opens his wings wide. In some cases, the males are drawn on their paws, taking a vertical stand, and spreading the tail. At the end of the marriage ceremony, the female and male clean each other's feathers and “kiss” while touching their beaks.
During the year a couple manages to make 7-8 clutches of 1 or 2 eggs each. Sometimes the female starts brooding the next brood while the male is still feeding the previous chicks. The incubation period is 16-19 days, and 35-37 days after the birth of the chicks, they differ little from their parents. Puberty at them will come at the age of 5-7 months.

 Pigeons doves in many people are associated with the transfer of messages. Pigeon mail was popular all over the world for a long time, and prior to the invention of the telegraph it was considered the fastest way to send messages. It was assumed that pigeons are guided by the sun or pick up magnetic fields to find their way home. However, the experiment of scientists from Oxford proved that these savvy birds prefer completely understandable landmarks: roads and railways, relying only on the sun in unfamiliar terrain.
Interestingly, in the 1980s, the US Coast Guard used pigeons to search for people missing in the sea. For this, the birds were first taught to react to everything orange (the color of the life jacket), and then they took with them to the search helicopter. Pigeons found victims three times more often and faster than humans.

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