Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Pigeon Couple

Courting pigeons, technically called rock pigeons, formerly called rock doves, Columba livia. 

We usually can't tell the gender of pigeons just by looking at them. They are monomorphic; males and females look the same. And their reproductive organs are internal and concealed so we need to see the birds perform gender specific behaviors, like the birds in these pictures.

The bird on the right above is a male. He was courting the female on the left in Cadman Plaza Park in Brooklyn this morning with a courtship display called tail-dragging.  He spread his tail and puffed out his chest and neck feathers. He strutted around dragging his spread tail on the ground.
When the female moved away he  rushed to follow her. He was animated and persistent.
They did this for about ten minutes, until she flew away. He followed.

On the way home I heard northern cardinals and white-throated sparrows singing. Spring!

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