Blue dove is the most common variety of pigeons. Habitats in ancient times were the north of Africa, the South and the Center of Europe. Over time, the species began to domesticate and spread to all corners of the world.
The breed Gray Dove is divided into:
- wild individuals;
- synanthropic representatives, that is, those that live and nest in the immediate vicinity of humans.
For pigeons living in urban conditions, a wide variety of colors is characteristic. The external description of the Gray dove is as follows:
- body length is 30-36 cm;
- body weight - about 370 g, with good satisfaction in urban conditions, may be more;
- eyes may be golden or red;
- beak with a slightly blunt tip, medium length;
- the feather is thick, attached to the upper layer of the skin, so it often falls off;
- plumage of gray with purple, greenish or metallic tint.
For wild individuals, a lighter color of plumage is characteristic. On the wings of a black strip. Synanthropic individuals have a more diverse color, among them there are chocolate, with blue, white-tailed, snow-white birds. Both varieties are distinguished by the unusual structure of the auricles hidden under the feathers. Thanks to this structure, pigeons can hear sounds that people don’t hear.
Wild Gray dove prefers to live on rocky cliffs, so it can be seen very rarely on tree branches. Synanthropic birds are more adapted to branches, but still more often walk on the ground or sit on roofs and all kinds of cornices. When the Gray Pigeon moves on foot, it moves its head back and forth to concentrate vision. Visually, a pigeon can distinguish almost any color.
The gray dove is a great flyer. It can reach speeds of about 100 km / h. The bird rises into the air vertically. She is well versed in space, able to fly home from a distance of tens of thousands of kilometers.
Features of behavior and habitat
For wild birds, a characteristic habitat is an open area, rocky cliffs, steppes. In African countries, they can often be found on desert oases. The distribution area of the wild Blue Dove is the northern part of Africa, just above the Sahara, the South and the Center of Europe, Asia.
Semi-domestic birds inhabit a wider area. They can be found anywhere in the world. For nesting places, attics and abandoned construction sites, sparsely populated and quiet places where there is no access to predators are selected.
In natural habitats, the enemies for the Blue dove are birds from the order of hawks, owls and owls. Ferrets, martens, lynxes often destroy nests, and a fox or raccoon can also catch a pigeon. For urban residents, cats, crows, jackdaws, and rats are in danger. The need to constantly be on the alert and the ability to distinguish between inaccessible to other hearing sounds made the dove's dream very sensitive. At the slightest danger, they immediately wake up and take off.
The pigeon can migrate over short distances. When it gets cooler, he moves to a warmer place. In cold areas it descends from the mountains to the lowlands. In the conditions of the city with the onset of cold weather it moves closer to human housing or garbage.
Dove Sisy pretty much attached to his house. On a hatched place, he can several years in a row to breed chicks. This feature became beneficial to humans when they started using pigeon mail. Often birds live in two, but flocks form for food.
The gray pigeon is not a whimsical bird in choosing food. This is due to the fact that he has very few taste buds in his mouth. For the most part, the basis of the diet is plant food. A bird eats bugs and midges only by chance when peeling grains and bread from the ground. Wild sisars feed on the seeds of various plants. Often flock in flocks of wheat, corn fields. Also love to eat fruits and berries.
Semi-domestic pigeons often feed on garbage. Birds fly to the city in landfills and get their own food there. Often people feed them with seeds and bread crumbs. If you bring food to the same place for a couple of days in a row, then soon they themselves will begin to arrive at this place at the appointed time. They have excellent memory.
Gray pigeons form flocks for food. They do not have a clear order, so the flock easily breaks up and a new one is formed. Even in flocks, birds are most often kept in pairs. Watching them, you can see that the dove and the dove share food with each other and do not let other pigeons get too close to themselves.
A pair for creating a pigeon family is formed once and for all. The beginning of the mating season falls on the last days of February – early March. The pigeon first finds a place for the nest, and then searches for a pigeon. A pair often consists of birds with approximately the same temperament.
Those who happened to hear at least once how the male cooed will never confuse these sounds with anything. Through a voice, the pigeon sends a message to the pigeon about his intentions. In addition, the male fluffs the tail, performs a kind of mating dance. However, the final choice is up to the female. No matter how much the male cooes, if he does not like the pigeon, she will never pair with him.
At the courtship ceremony, all the work is done by the male. The female’s task is only to appreciate the cavalier and agree to form a couple or reject an unsuccessful partner. Pigeons do not instantly mate; the beginning of the process is preceded by a mating ceremony. For some time the male circled over his girlfriend, chasing her everywhere.
The male feathers feather in the neck. The dove bows its head to the ground and opens its wings. Often performs a vertical stance, stretching out on its paws and fanning its tail. Such a dance is always accompanied by coo.
After the female accepts the courtship of the partner, they become a couple officially, show this by their behavior when in the pack. They very carefully clean feathers for each other, touch their beaks.
When the pair is formed, the dove with special zeal guards the territory where the nest is located, as well as its female. If another male appears, he tries to close the chosen one and take him away from him. The most aggressive fights with strangers.
Females of this breed are always tied to one partner. Even when a bird has been stolen or crossed with another male, it will still return to its old partner. The couple makes a nest with common forces. The female sits and dutifully waits for the partner to bring her material for the nest, which she then carefully stacks and forms the house.
After 2 weeks after mating, the female lays an egg, a couple of days later - the second. The size of the eggs is about 2 cm. The color of the shell can be blue or beige. The Doves of Sizya hatch their chicks in turn. Often in the daytime a pigeon is in the nest, and at night - a pigeon. Mom spends more time in the nest.
The pigeon lays on eggs so that the female has the opportunity to eat. If she is too late, he makes characteristic sounds, urging her to return back to the nest. Chicks are born with a difference of 10 to 48 hours. After birth, they emit a quiet squeak. Chicks are born without plumage, therefore, they need constant heating.
The first 25 days, the chicks feed on bird milk, which is produced in goiter by both parents. From day 25, soaked grains are added to the diet. Breeding with milk can last 1.5-2 months. Often during this period, the female begins to hatch the following chicks. If the dove is already sitting on the eggs, the male continues to feed the previous doves on his own.
Pigeons leave the nest for 45 days. At this point, their appearance is almost the same as that of mature individuals. From the beginning of the mating season to the end of summer, a couple can produce up to 8 broods. Everything will depend on the environment in which the family lives and on the availability and quality of feed. In the urban environment, the pigeon Sizy lives 3 years, in the conditions of home maintenance their age reaches 15 years.
Impact on human life
This type of bird warns of danger and can be useful in many aspects of human life. So, for example, at a time when there was absolutely no communication, the Gray pigeon was used by man as a mail. Pigeons are well oriented in space, so they always return to the house.
Today these birds are used in rescue operations. Birds make a corresponding sound when they come across a yellow vest, or circle over the place where a lost person is found. Pigeons are very intelligent creatures, so they can be easily trained and trained.
The gray pigeons were the first domesticated representatives. Tamed wild sisar 5, 000 years ago. It is he who is considered the progenitor of all subsequent domestic breeds. After domestication, they began to grow in order to obtain meat, eggs and feathers.
The first notes on the abilities of sizars were still in the Bible: Noah sends a dove in search of the earth. After the bird became a symbol of peace.
To breed Gray Doves at home, you need to build a house. The difference of the breed lies in the unpretentiousness in the choice of feed. However, this fact does not mean that pigeons can be left to feed on their own. A beautiful feather and tasty meat can only be obtained with proper care and feeding with balanced feed.
Pigeons are characterized by very weak immunity, therefore, in order to avoid infection with infectious diseases, they should be vaccinated. Pigeons can be carriers of many ailments that are dangerous to humans. Cleanliness and timely ventilation of the premises in which pigeons live is a guarantee of good health for pets. Also, the room should maintain optimal temperature and humidity so that birds can develop normally. There must be a free range.
This breed has such a feature as homing. This is the ability to return home from any distance. These birds can be in the air for a long time. The record holder for returning home from a long distance is the beloved Beauty of Brazil. She flew 41.5 km.
If you blindfold the bird, it will cease to shake its head back and forth and focus on the terrain. Descriptions of pigeons are found in historical sources much more often than about other bird representatives.
To date, there are practically no regions and countries in which there would be no Blue Doves. This breed was tamed 5, 000 years ago. Used to get meat, eggs and fluff. One of the first to tame these birds. It is believed that the remaining domestic breeds of pigeons were selected precisely from them. The species got its name for the color of plumage, which is dominated by bluish colors with green, blue and metallic tint. A wild relative has a lighter color than a semi-domestic one.
In human life, the bird played an ambiguous role. They were used not only to get meat, but also in the pigeon mail. To date, they continue to be used in various search operations. This breed is distinguished by an inquiring mind and endurance. Its representatives are able to return home from very large distances. They develop a flight speed of over 100 km / h.