Mangile's Pigeon Pages

American Pigeon Journal
May 1984, pages 66 & 67.

You Answer ... I'll Ask Why?

  by Robert J. Mangile

Upon scanning over my bulletin board, I noticed some pin-up notes that caught my attention which involved peculiarities in my pigeons.  Almost every fancier has, at one time another, noticed unusual things among their birds.  When I observe something unusual I make a small note of it and pin it up on the little bulletin board over my desk.  I'm not sure why I do such stuff but it seems important at the time, and besides it may interest others too.

For example: most fanciers seem to agree that the pigeons would much rather nest in some unusual place, like a 5-gallon bucket or behind a door leaning against the wall.  WHY?  Last Spring (1983) I moved several birds into an empty loft, used primarily in the warmer months.  Nest boxes and roosts were mostly make-shift and haphazardly arranged and the birds seemed to like it best that way.  A few days after the birds were loaded into the loft I heard this loud bulging "coo...coo...coo" coming from the loft.  I peeked in and saw three hens, literally fighting, for the closest spot to the opening of the long tubular wooden box from which the call was coming.  Now, ain't that interesting, I thought?  WHY?  Time and experience has convinced me, for the most part, that males of larger breeds like Kings and Runts can attract females much quicker than smaller breeds.  I have always assumed that the tone of the voice or "nest-call" played a large part in the romances of pigeons, but never had proof to support my notions.

The bird drumming in the long box was audible from outside the loft and at some distance.  After some amusing observations I entered the loft to see what bird held such magical powers over these female admirers!  To my surprise, it was a little Archangel cock making all the noise.  He was winning the sexual war among racing homer sized birds.  Again, I thought, isn't that interesting?

When one considers that the Rock Pigeons nest in holes; feral street pigeons nest in rusted out structures and beneath bridges, etc.; and our cooped birds prefer a corner on the floor or a place behind a board leaning against the wall or even a 5-gallon bucket, to our fancy boxes; it seems impossible to ignore the likelihood that the resounding sound that comes from a 5-gallon bucket or a long tubular box is put to use either consciously or unconsciously by pigeons (Columba livia), in order to attract a female mate.  Of course, it isn't all that simple.  Usually such places offer security and low visibility but the resounding sound of the males nest-call is one element that appears to play a role in the selection of nesting sites. WHY?

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