Also known as Rock Pigeons or Rock Doves, Toronto's many pigeons use building ledges as nesting sites just as they would use rock cliffs in more wild areas. But city pigeons are at ease in the world of man, confidently head-bobbing their way right up to anyone who seems like they might be willing to part with a little food - or might be about to drop some, at least.
Between the head-bobbing walk and the fan-tailed prance male pigeons regularly perform to woo the ladies, pigeons are a conspicuous part of city life. In Toronto's downtown core pigeons are frequently clustered on the sidewalk, dodging feet to grab at any morsels. But pigeons are also found in the more suburban areas of the city, where they're more likely to be perched on rooftops and balconies.
Pigeons get a mixed response from Torontonians. Some loathe the birds and would love to see them gone from the city - in the past, illegal poisoning of pigeons has even been blamed for also killing Red-tailed Hawks. It's likely many city residents simply don't give pigeons a second thought. But there are some locals who love pigeons for their personality and varied looks, and who respect them as highly-adaptable urban wildlife. If you consider yourself part of the last category, be sure to read about Project PigeonWatch, an international research project that invites everyone to contribute by observing pigeons in their own area. Here in Toronto, there are certainly no shortage of subjects!
- Rock Pigeons on About.com: Birding/Wild Birds
- "Dozens of city's red-tailed hawks killed by poison" by Chris Wattie for the National Post, April 3 2008
- All About Birds - Rock Pigeon, Cornell Lab of Ornithology
- The ROM Field Guide to Birds of Ontario by Janice M. Hughes, Royal Ontario Museum and McClelland & Stewart, 2001