You are here
Shy and sometimes hard to see, the Band-tailed Pigeon lives in low-altitude conifer forests and treed suburbs of the West and Southwest. Band-tails stay in small flocks most of the year. They occasionally crowd into suburban bird feeders, nudging out smaller birds. When one calls, you might think you're hearing an owl! Learn more about this shy forest dweller at Cornell's All About Birds.
Band-tail, Pigeon of the Woods
Adapted from Frances Wood
This is BirdNote!
[Sounds of Band-tailed Pigeon]
This soft whoo-whoo, whoo-whoo comes from a pigeon. But not the common city variety; this pigeon lives mostly in low-altitude forests. It’s the Band-tailed Pigeon.
[Repeat calls and keep them running]
Though it’s large, it’s shy and sometimes hard to see. The Band-tailed Pigeon is basically gray with a shimmer of purple on its head and breast and a white crescent across the back of its neck. The “band-tail” of this beautiful bird refers to a dark charcoal band mid-way up the bird’s tail.
[Insert wing flapping]
When these forest pigeons crowd onto suburban bird feeders in woodsy areas, their bulky 14-inch bodies lord over the smaller birds.
Strictly a bird of the western states, the Band-tailed Pigeon is decreasing in numbers. This is probably the result of the removal of low-altitude forests where the pigeons feed on seeds and fruit.
So, the next time you hear this owl-like hooting, look up, and you may see a small flock of Band-tailed Pigeons in the trees.
[Call of the Band-tailed Pigeon]
You can help birds that are endangered, threatened, or of special concern. Find out how on our website, BirdNote.org. I’m Michael Stein.
Calls of Band-tailed Pigeon provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Recorded by Websounds, T.A. Sanders.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2012 Tune In to Nature.org June 2012 Narrator: Michael Stein