Sorry, No Picture! The order Columbiformes is where all pigeons and doves are categorized. Columba is the Latin word for pigeon or dove. All of these birds "coo" in some form, whether they say "coo-coo" or "ooah-ooo-oo-oo". It is a sound unique to this order of birds. They are all very fast fliers with pointed wings. There is some variety in their tail shapes - most are fan-shaped, but some are long and pointed. They all eat grain, seeds, or fruit. One species even eats acorns! In the wild, they usually nest in trees and most lay only two eggs. When they walk, they all bob their heads with every step. One member of this order, the Passenger Pigeon, is now extinct. Millions of them were killed for food by early settlers in North America. There are stories of how flocks of migrating Passenger Pigeons once blocked out the sun for days. In North America there are now only 11 species of Doves and Pigeons, all in the family Columbidae. As a group, these birds are very adaptable and don't seem bothered by human activity. In cities they perch on telephone wires and nest on buildings. Some have even helped in our wars by carrying messages for spies. If they are taken to an area far from home, they are very good at finding their way back. The spies just attach a message to the bird's leg or neck, and the pigeon carries it back home. [LH] {BE} {LE}
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