Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Band-tails are Back

Since the end of last week there have been some small flocks of Band-tailed Pigeons coming into the backyard bird bird feeders. This is a good sign because as of last winter a serious disease, T avian trichomonosis or, more specifically, Trichomonas gallinae was killing many of them. It is believed that non-native rock pigeons, the common pigeon you see in cities, were spreading the disease. Scientists believe the parasite evolved with the rock pigeons in Europe, and they are immune to the disease but can still carry it. The parasite was first found in Band-tailed Pigeons in the 1940s, but it has become more prevalent in the last 10 years. It thrives in the mouth and throat of the diseased birds, causing sores in the mouth or esophagus that eventually block the passage of food. The infected birds eventually die from starvation or suffocation. I have noticed a serious decline in the numbers of Band-tails in our area. Fifteen years ago it was very common for us to see flocks of thirty or more landing in the trees around our yard. Now the biggest flocks I ever see are usually less than a dozen. Here is an image of one from yesterday morning in our backyard. Canon 7D with a Canon 100-400 IS lens. Camera settings used were AV mode, ISO 800, f 8.0 at 1/250th of a sec. God bless, chris


  1. Lovely bird! Very sad situation. Hope they can survive.

    1. Thank you, Shelly they are a pretty cool bird. Hard to believe that they used to be in flocks of close to a 100 during the 1920s and 30s. My dad described seeing huge flocks of them following the grain threshers in the fields when he was a kid.