As many of you know, I added 20-fancy pigeons to my Bedford flock earlier this year. They live in a very safe coop near my chicken yard. Many of the birds were featured in last year's “Fly by Night” performance in New York City by artist, Duke Riley and were members of Duke’s personal flock. Others were borrowed or rescued from pigeon fanciers for the performance. I adopted this small group to live here at the farm, and I am happy to report, they are all healthy, happy and thriving.
Here are some of the latest photos… enjoy.
This is one of two pigeon lofts here at my farm. Because we only have 20, they all live together very comfortably in one coop.
On one side of the loft is an entire wall of nesting spaces. Pigeons mate for life, and both female and male pigeons share responsibility of caring for and raising their young.
Pigeons breed all year round with peak breeding periods in spring and summer.
Fancy pigeons are domesticated varieties of the wild rock dove, bred by pigeon fanciers for size, shape, color, and behavior.
The 10-pairs in our Bedford flock include Dunn Tippler, Egyptian Swift, Damascene, and Isabella Tippler.
Oftentimes, pigeons of the same breed will stay close together – here is a pair of Dunn Tipplers.
Here is an Egyptian Swift and an Almond Tippler. Tipplers are renowned for their endurance – they can remain in uninterrupted flight for long periods of time.
Pigeons are very social animals. They will often be seen in flocks of 20 to 30 birds.
I just love the wide range of colors and markings on these fancy pigeons.
The Damascene pigeon is thought to have originated in Damascus, Syria. It is loved for its beauty and companionship – it is even believed that the Damascene was an avian companion to the prophet, Muhammed.
Pigeons are thought to navigate by sensing the earth’s magnetic field and using the sun for direction. Other theories include the use of roads and even low frequency seismic waves to find their way.
Here is a dark Egyptian Swift.
This is a beautiful Isabella Tippler.
This is the back of the loft, the aviary, where the pigeons socialize and view all the happenings around the farm. This section is all enclosed with special netting to keep them safe.
The floor of the aviary, is made of strong gage wire netting, supported with wooden beams.
All birds roost. As soon as these pigeons arrived, we made a suitable ladder out of felled branches found right here at the farm. The pigeons love to perch on it during the day.
This pigeon is a Dunn Tippler – another bird that is very adept at staying in flight for hours without stopping.
Pigeons are very docile, gentle and sweet natured birds. Everyone at the farm loves to visit with them.
A pigeon’s diet contains about 50-percent grain crops, and 10-percent oil seed, rich in vitamins B and E. An average adult sized pigeon can eat about 30-grams of food each day. Like all our birds, we make sure the pigeons always have fresh food and water.
The white bird in the center is a Homer – among the most famous pigeon breeds. Homers come in a variety of colors and have a remarkable ability to find their way home from very long distances.
Pigeons can fly at altitudes of 6000-feet or more. Pigeons can also fly at average speeds of up to 77-miles per hour.
And, like humans, pigeons can see in color, but they can also see ultraviolet light, a part of the spectrum that humans cannot see. As a result, pigeons are often used in search and rescue missions at sea.
I am so happy these pigeons are acclimating well to their new surroundings. They will remain in their enclosure until they are fully accustomed to this as home.
Dawa, who cares for all our outdoor avian friends, visits the pigeons twice a day to check on their food, water and well-being. Here he is with a newly laid pigeon egg.