Doves: symbols of peace; pigeons: not so much!

Started Aug 25, 2014 | Discussions thread
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zackiedawg Forum Pro • Posts: 29,429
Doves: symbols of peace; pigeons: not so much!

It's always been a bit strange to me that two birds so closely related - doves and pigeons, can be thought of so differently. Broadly and internationally, doves have always been a symbol of peace...yet pigeons, not very different birds, are thought of as pests - referred to in some cities as 'rats in the sky'. Poor pigeons!

I have recently had a pigeon, which surprisingly is fairly rare in my part of town, joining in with the variety of doves in my backyard - they get along famously - to eat the birdseed and hang out on the roof cooing with them. This particular pigeon is interesting because it was a working pigeon - a 'homing' or 'racing' pigeon, which apparently decided to self-retire, and flew the coop one day...he still has his leg tags showing he was someone's pet racing pigeon - but he either went out on a race one day and decided not to return, or got away from his coop - I tracked his leg tag number and found he is from Miami, about 70 miles south of my house.

While in the pool relaxing after hot days in the wetlands, I like to photograph the backyard birds as they come to feed - and often like the challenge of shooting BIFs of the very very fast doves as they take off and blast away (doves have two speeds - sitting and warp-9)...they are very good practice for panning and tracking. So here are some of my backyard doves of peace...and their fellow pesty rat partner, the retired pigeon, taken with the A6000, 55-210mm, and DH1758:

Here comes a collared dove zooming in to feed

A collared dove taking off - they are hard to catch at this moment, because they go from standing peacefully and calm, and then quite suddenly with a whistling flutter of wings, they're off at full speed, no warning!

Here's the now-retired pigeon...really lovely colors and iridescence on this guy. In the background, a mix of mourning doves, grackles, and a squirrel

Collared dove making a hard banking left turn right after taking off - to get up over my hedge

This guy was making a full-speed pass right over my pool - sometimes they fly by a few times to check out the situation, make sure there aren't any traps or surprises, before landing to feed

A mourning dove, blasting past the palm tree limbs

Another mourning dove, this one headed up and around my hibiscus

Mourning doves are smaller than collared doves - and have a darker grey color with black spots and patterns on their back and wings

Here, a mourning dove is all spread out so you can see his wing and tail patterns as he circles low over the seed at full speed

Retired pigeon, strutting his stuff - he's rather confident around people, having once been a pet - he'll land 5 feet from me, then strut over to the seed, looking back to see if I'm watching.

Challenging shot, as this guy was very close to me and flying very fast - I had less than 1/2 second to realize he was flying, acquire, gain AF, and fire the shutter for a quick burst of 3 - the other two shots cut off the tail, but one got him all in frame

Thought to be different, I'd concentrate on one group or type of birds from the general doves are underappreciated and underrepresented in BIFs and bird photos, and pigeons get even less respect - the Rodney Dangerfield of the bird world! Sad, because I think their colors and patterns are beautiful!

Comments, questions, critique welcomed as always.

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