Wood pigeons have a varied diet which includes vegetables and berries. The feral pigeon found in urban areas exists exclusively on a diet of seed (normally from human sources) and human refuse, such as fast food waste.The sport involves each participant using captive pigeons, released from several pigeon lofts or dovecotes at the same time, and to lure as many birds as possible away from adjoining lofts using specially trained pigeons.The captured birds were either killed or held for ransom. The feral pigeon has few if any natural predators, with man being the main threat to the bird in areas of human habitation. The sparrowhawk may also predate on the wild pigeon.The tradition of housing pigeons in man-made structures continued until the 20th century and is described in more detail in the Dovecotes article.
It is unclear when this ancient sport first started, but the early Greeks and Romans are believed to have participated in it.
Derivation: The word ‘pigeon’ is derived from the Latin word ‘pipio’, meaning ‘young cheeping bird’. Mention of pigeon sacrifices can also be found in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.
The word ‘dove’ is of Norse origin and first appeared in the 14th century as ‘dova’ or ‘douve’. The pigeon is probably best known for its ability to return ‘home’ from long distances and has been used extensively by man for this purpose.
Bird Order: Columbiformes Family: Columbidae (includes 315 different species) Subspecies: C. The earliest reference to the pigeon being used to carry messages dates back to 2500 BC and the tradition has continued throughout history.
During the excavation of an Egyptian tomb in 3000 BC, the bones of pigeons were found in what is thought to have been the remains of a funerary meal.