It is a historical curiosity that Feral Pigeon = Rock Dove, but in different contexts. Neither name is a good choice for consistency for such a prominent bird.
It is odd that we have not settled on a simple name that includes all uses (like we have with “canary”). Probably Rock Dove best refers to the wild origin birds that are in Europe. Those here are descendants of them. Feral Pigeon is used by bird observers
to refer to free living descendants of the introduced bird. Presumably because of a desire not to count clearly domestic flocks in our data. Those who actively keep these birds, still domestic, probably would not use either name, because a domestic feral is
nonsensical and they don’t live on rocks and are clearly thought of as (usually) racing pigeons.
At a broader level, there isn’t a strong distinction between what is a “pigeon” or a “dove”. Either name is used for members of the order.
As for counting them The GBS Report mentions the problem “Recording
of this species is somewhat unreliable, there may have been confusion with some people recording domestic flocks, which has been recommended against, though only version 3 of the chart was specific in that regard.”
About the original question:
It is most abundant in the urban areas rather than the suburbs and inhabits and regularly breeds on ledges of buildings wherever it can find suitable shelter. Such buildings include
mainly bridges, covered car parks and shopping centres.”
There are also roosts of them in Kambah for example always around the Namadgi school and playing grounds but only rarely do I have
them at or over my home which is only about 2 km or less away.
From: Chris Liddiard [
Sent: Wednesday, 28 August, 2019 11:52 AM
To: John Harris
Cc: Geoffrey Dabb;
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] Feral Pigeons
Would someone mind telling me what sort of pigeon is considered “feral”?
Are they species that are not considered “native”?
On 28 Aug 2019, at 10:20 am, John Harris <> wrote:
I don’t keep pigeons but they are on the increase in Gungahlin. For years I only ever saw them in Civic but they are up here now.
From: Geoffrey Dabb <>
Date: Wednesday, 28 August 2019 at 10:18 am
To: chatline <>
Subject: [canberrabirds] Feral Pigeons
I am engaged on a little project on the local feral pigeons. I’m interested in any reports of regular feeding aggregations or major roosting or nesting sites.
At the moment we are not seeing the large flocks we used to get around the open areas and on powerlines at JWNR. There are a few flocks to be seen on lawns in the parliamentary triangle.
The flock regularly seen flying over south Canberra is probably based at a local loft i.e. privately owned. There are probably similar flocks in North Canberra, which is the home of an active pigeon racing club.
Does anyone on this chatline keep pigeons?
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