Length is about 34 cm (13.5″). Colour is generally bluish grey with narrow black wing bands and white rump. Colours can vary. In rural areas, pigeons may cause serious losses to small grains, may contaminate foodstuffs and spread disease to domestic stock.
Feral pigeons carry pigeon ornithosis (psittacosis) Newcastle disease, aspergillosis, pseudo tuberculosis, pigeon coccidiosis toxoplasmosis, encephalitis and salmonellosis many of which can be transmitted to humans. Histoplasmosis and crypotococosis are systematic fungus disease of man which may be contracted while cleaning up accumulations of dusty pigeon manure. Pigeon ectoparasites such as pigeon nest bugs, fleas, ticks and mites may bite man, possibly transmitting disease; welts and skin infection may result from mite bites, Ectoparasites such as the Northern fowl mite frequently invade homes from pigeon nests in or on the building.
Pigeon droppings deface and speed deterioration of buildings, statues and automobiles and may land on unwary pedestrians. Pigeon’s faeces commonly contaminate grain destined for use as human food. Pigeon nests may clog drain pipes, interfere with awnings and make fire escapes hazardous. The nests harbour numerous ectoparasites and dermestid beetles.
Widely distributed in Ontario cities and surrounding countryside. In winter, the feral Pigeon is less frequently encountered in open country. High ledges, especially ornamental alcoves of buildings. Nests are often reused and consist of twigs, straw, droppings and feathers.
Buildings ledges, barn rafters, bridges, and similar man-made shelters are usual nesting sites. The Pair constructs a rather messy nest in which the female lays one or two eggs. The male and female incubate the eggs. The incubation period is 17-19 days. The young (squab) are fed pre-digested food (pigeon milk) until they are weaned just before leaving the nest at 35-37 days of age. More eggs are laid before the first young are weaned. Breeding occurs during all seasons and several broods are raised each year.
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