Animalogy: Primate Basics by Bassam Imam - HTML preview

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immune

systems

are

more

likely

to

develop

histoplasmosis. An infected person cannot transmit the disease to another human being.

-Cryptococcosis is a fungal caused disease. This fungus

grows in pigeon droppings and in soil. In general, this disease targets people with compromised immune systems.

-Psittacosis or Parrot Fever is a rare infectious disease that affects birds including pigeons. Inhalation (dry droppings through dust) is the primary method of transmission. Symptoms of infected persons include fever, headache, rash, chills, and less commonly pneumonia. Symptoms usually occur after 10 days of infection. Because this is a bacterial based disease treatment entails the use of antibiotics. (Important Note: If you suspect infection DO NOT us my list to diagnose yourself or anyone else.

You must seek professional medical advice. In the case of pigeons a veterinary medical diagnosis is called for.

-Cleaning windowsills generally does not pose a threat of infection.

-Wear protective gear including face mask, rubber gloves and long clothing.

-A single purpose dust pan (DO NOT USE IT FOR ANY OTHER

KIND OF CLEANING). Dust pan must be thoroughly cleaned

immediately after the job is done.

-Spray the pigeon droppings with water. DO NOT wash the poop away with high-powered water. This will only scatter the droppings.

-Spraying the pigeon droppings with water should eliminate air borne dust transmission. Make sure that all is sprayed.

-Scrape the pigeon droppings into the dustpan. Make sure there are no leftovers.

-DO NOT touch any of the droppings, even if you are wearing

protective gloves.

-Throw the pigeon droppings into a garbage bag. But first ensure that the bag does not have any holes or rips in it. Use a double bag if you want.

-Make sure the garbage back is securely shut.

-Place the garbage bag in a safe area.

-Remove your clothing and wash everything immediately.

-Wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly.

Like humans and other animals, pigeons do get ill. Below is

a brief/basic list of serious problems to look out for. Do not 60

use this list as a professional guide or diagnostic or treatment tool. Always seek professional help if necessary.

-Trichomoniasis (Canker): The most prevalent disease in

racing pigeons. The name canker is the name generally used by the majority of pigeon fanciers.

The majority of pigeons are carriers of trichomonads which live in the mucous of the beak and throat. However, most pigeons do not show any symptoms.

Diseased pigeons perform a swallowing-like action over and over

again,

are

apathetic

especially

regarding

flying;

diarrhoea, discolouration in the beak, throat and crop (yellow coloured), necrotic material may appear in the mouth, oesophagus and skull, weakness and weight loss, marked increase in consumption of water and in serious cases the liver and other internal organs will be affected.

Water sights shared by other pigeons and infected parents feeding their young help spread trichomoniasis. Infected parents should be kept away from their chicks.

Coccidiosis is an intestinal disease cause by protozoa.

Eimeria columbanum and Eimeria labbeanna are the 2 types of coccidiae that produce illness in pigeons.

Young pigeons and pigeons that have not had low levels of exposure to Coccidiae in the past and ‘overly stressed out’

pigeons are likely to become ill. Coccidiae is a very serious and dangerous illness that can severely harm pigeon flock populations. Conditions that are warm, moist, low hygiene and inadequate ventilation increases Coccidiae prevalence. This is a highly infectious disease.

Affected pigeons may appear slouched or bent in posture, visible reduction in weight, ruffled feathers, little or no longing to eat or drink, reduced movement and not wanting to fly. Cleanliness of living quarters, food, water and bowls is essential.

Psittacosis or Parrot Disease is an infectious disease that

can be acquired by humans and pigeons, and other bird species.

Psittacosis

is

caused

by

Chlamydia

psittaci,

a

microorganism belonging to the genus Chlamydia.

The mode of transmission is through inhalation of the

urine, fecal matter or respiratory secretions of an infected bird are airborne. In addition contact of an infected area of a bird or a bird bite are other methods of transmission.

The dormancy period of Psittacosis in a bird usually ranges

from a few days to 2 weeks. Common symptoms include unusual lethargy or sleepiness, prolonged shivering, convulsions, weight loss due to loss of appetite and illness, cracking sound emanating from lungs; droppings that are black or tarry, green 61

or diarrhoea. Although this is primarily a lung disease it can also affect other organs.

Humans who work with birds on a consistent and regular basis are most at risk of becoming infected.

Pigeon or other bird species owners must clean the living quarters at least once daily. Food and food and water bowls must be cleaned regularly.

Humans with psittacosis may develop symptoms from a few days to 2 weeks after infection. The symptoms are high fever, joint pain, chills, cough, excessive nose bleeding, muscle and chest pain, increased sweating, vomiting, diarrhoea, enlarged spleen, lethargy, loss of strength and noticeable intolerance to light.

Mycoplasmosis also spelled microplasmosis is an infection caused by bacteria and virus.

Pigeons that have successfully been treated attain immunity but can pass the illness onto their youngsters.

Symptoms of Mycoplasmosis in pigeons include discharge from the nose, abhorrent breath, a noticeable reduction in flying ability, rejection of flying, crop inflammation, gray scabs inside the mouth and laboured breathing.

Better hygiene and eliminate pigeon crowding, clean food and water.

Salmonella are gram negative bacteria (GNT do not keep

possession of crystal violet dye in the gram staining protocol) can infect pigeons, other birds and animals, and humans. There are roughly nearly 2000 species.

Free-ranging birds can be sub-clinical carriers (early

stages of a disease; no visible symptoms), thereby being a

‘storage area’ and possible ‘transporter’ of salmonella. Other possible vectors or ‘transporters’ of salmonella include mice, rats and quite possibly flies.

Imported or new birds that are infected can wreak havoc upon entering a flock or being introduced into flock by pigeon fanciers, or any other person or group that owns birds. Multiple pigeon owners should quarantine new birds, ensure they’re not infected with salmonella or any other infectious agent before introducing them into their flock or normal housing pigeon loft or coop.

The bacteria is done mostly through the air; mucous

secretion in the nasal area, droppings, and feather dust. Food and water can also be infected. In addition, infected mothers when feeding their young pose a serious danger.

Symptoms of salmonella in pigeons include overall lethargy including but not limited to the flying drive, visible weight loss, diarrhoea, watery droppings, arthritis (in serious cases involving pigeons)and swollen and overly sensitive legs. In 62

grave cases unusual thirst, conjunctivitis, neurological damage or organ damage can occur.

Proper hygiene and regular cleaning of housing, food bowls and water bowls. Food and water must be clear of droppings.

E Coli are usually dormant, non-dangerous inhabitants of the intestines of humans, birds and other animals. However, there are dangerous and potentially deadly strains.

E Coli infection is caused by Escherichia coli. These

specific

strains

(called

serotypes)

of

the

bacteria

are

identified in special labs.

The toxicity of the serotype is a factor in resulting

disease. Some of these strains can produce very serious illness resulting in serious organ damage or failure. Some E Coli serotypes can get around or avoid the immune system of the pigeon.

E Coli infection can be primary or secondary in nature.

Primary infection refers to the serotype being the sole cause of the disease. Secondary infection means that there is another primary

cause

such

as

poor

nutrition,

elevated

stress,

overcrowding, or another medical condition.

E Coli symptoms include loose watery droppings, vomit,

greenish coloured droppings, weight loss, drooping wing, joint pain,

crop

doesn’t

empty

properly,

difficulty

breathing,

inability or severe unwillingness to fly, paralysis, and sudden death.

E Coli stool tests must be well-preserved and given to qualified persons for examination. Non-preserved stool samples will likely have elevated E Coli levels from overexposure.

E Coli symptoms in pigeons are identical to symptoms found in other diseases. Therefore, as always, seek professional help when needed. If you aren’t a professional it would not be a good idea to officially diagnose your pigeon/s.

Good hygiene, cleaning of the water and food bowls

regularly is always important.

Pigeon Pox is a viral disease (poxyvirus group) in which pigeons are potentially affected by.

The most prevalent method of transmission is from mosquito bites (mosquitoes penetrate the skin of the ‘target’ with a syringe-like tool within the mouth; may or may not contain venom).

Mosquito bites occurring in featherless parts of the body will be more visible. Racing pigeons with this kind of a bite will have to be put to rest until they return to a healthy state. This form of pigeon pox affects the skin by the appearance of pox.

The mucous form of infection is more serious. The pox

develops on the crop and the pharyngeal cavity. Eating, drinking 63

and breathing can be dangerously affected. Visible weight loss and an overall appearance of sickliness are apparent. You can see unnatural growth in scabby fissures usually on the eyelid and beak angle; sometimes elsewhere on the body.

In flocks, healthy looking pigeons should be vaccinated.

Unhealthy or infected pigeons should be removed from the flock without delay.

Pigeons are not carriers or transmitters of avian flu.

However, if a pigeon were to come into contact with infected droppings from a flock of birds the droppings could become a dangerous carrier agent.

Pigeon mites, also referred to as bird mites or avian mites

are parasites that consume the blood of warm-blooded (blood temperatures 98 Fahrenheit to 112 Fahrenheit; 37 Centigrade to 44 Centigrade) mammals and birds.

Pigeon nests containing squabs will probably be overrun

with pigeon mites.

As soon as the squabs and mother empty out the nest the pigeon parasites move on to new pastures. Pigeon mites in apartment buildings or other human establishments also pose a risk of infesting humans and companion animals.

Whenever handling a sickly pigeon, you must observe

personal hygiene at all times; wear gloves, surgical mask (if needed) and always wash your hands and the area immediately after use.

Below are general signs to look for in a pigeon or other bird species regarding general health. This list below is for potential bird buyers and should not be used as a professional diagnostic tool. Be advised however, that birds can be tricky, hiding weakness or illness. In the jungle weakness is what predators love.

-The bird should be active, energetic and attuned to its surroundings.

-Should be interested in people; no cowering away or

freaking out when approached by a human.

-A

bird

that

appears

sleepy,

groggy,

or

otherwise

uninterested in moving may be sick.

-The eyes should appear clean, shiny and free of any

discharge or squinting.

-Nostrils should be clear, with no crusting in or around the area.

-Breathing should be steady and without labouring.

-The beak should look healthy without any gaps or

breakings.

-If choosing a young bird wait until it is at the age where

it should be fully-feathered. Feathers should appear shiny and 64

healthy. Lutino Cockatiels sometimes have a feather-free spot behind the crest. Otherwise, bald spots or unhealthy looking feathers may indicate illness.

-Check the region covering and surrounding the digestive, urinary and reproductive systems for dirt, fecal material, matted feathers, cuts or any other abnormalities.

-The keel bone (a bone that runs down the front of a bird) should slightly protrude. Too much or too little protrusion may indicate illness or a problem with the bird’s diet.

-Ask if you can hold the bird. Although the bird may

initially be apprehensive it should eventually accept you. If the bird freaks out this may not be the bird for you, unless you don’t want to ever hold it or get too close to it. Pigeons have short feet and foot toes, both of which are delicate. Watch your grip!

-Healthy birds should eat normally. Try to view the bird when it is eating.

-Droppings should never be bloody.

Although pigeons, especial feral ones are physically

resilient they still become sick, sometimes coming down with serious diseases.

Other than pigeons’ droppings, humans are for the most part

are not infected by pigeon diseases. Pigeons, unlike most other companion animals and animals within urban areas DO NOT attack humans. Nor do they ever inflate their bodies to us in a show of aggression or defiance. If you live in an urban area with a good-sized pigeon population you’ve probably seen a child chasing off and shouting at pigeons. In this scenario, all of the pigeons scamper away.

Wild pigeons’ worst nightmare is the peregrine falcon and also other birds of prey.

Urban pigeons often endure injuries and accidents, the most

common are being squashed, broken legs or broken wings. Cat attacks are another serious problem, and to a lesser extent window collisions. Pigeons are low on the predatory scale.

Almost no other animal species fears them. They may be able to bully a tiny city bird during feedings but I’ve personally never seen a pigeon go after or physically attack one.

‘Homeboy pigeons’ (living under the care of humans and

being directly fed by them) may have a hard time if they are thrown out of ‘their home’. Some of these pigeons cannot adapt; they may die of starvation or dehydration.

If you find an orphaned pigeon and want to personally help it, as a minimum you should do the following:

65

-Ensure that the orphaned pigeon is taken to a safe and warm place.

-It can be placed in a well-ventilated cardboard box

-A right light bulb should be included.

-Call your local humane society or bird rescue centre.

-If for some reason you can’t find help or you want to help

raise the orphan pigeon ensure that it is fed 4 times a day.

Syringe feeding may be necessary, and do not forget that you are feeding a youngster not an adult. Keep plenty of fresh water on hand.

-Moisten food, and gently insert it into the orphaned

pigeon’s beak. DO NOT forcefully shove food into its mouth.

-Stop feeding when the crop appears well-filled or rounded or when the orphaned pigeon appears disinterested. The crop is located in the throat. It is used like a cheek pouch, to store food that cannot be digested for the moment. This is a good safety measure; swallowing food quickly for safety reasons.

-Remember, when nestlings eat, they ‘insert’ their beaks deep into the parent’s throat.

-When it is fully-feathered place it in a secure and safe area outdoors.

-Allow the bird to fly around. When it appears strong

enough kindly transport it to an area converged with pigeons and away from danger.

Sickly urban pigeons may puff their feathers in the cold.

It may make a haphazard attempt at getting away or may make no attempt whatsoever if a human approaches it and tries to pick it up.

Sickly urban pigeons often appear out of place; after

sunset, alone, cowering under a bench or just standing ‘there’

all by itself and doing nothing. This is very dangerous because even without any wild animals in the area (not very likely; raccoons are opportunistic creatures and readily come out at night), dog owners take their dogs out for walks and cats (house cats and feral cats) can also spot a sickly pigeon. Often times, a sickly urban pigeon can’t fly. Without the ability to fly, even an otherwise healthy pigeon is literally a dead goose.

Limping, appearing listless, or sickly are magnets for

predators. Not to mention the deviant humans who’ll take the opportunity to attack and kill the helpless pigeon.

This pigeon may have dried blood around its head or body.

It’s sad but healthy pigeons in a flock may bully a sickly pigeon. Breaks, fractures, shock, pellets, injuries sustained from predator attacks, general illness, extreme thirst or dehydration or starvation, persecution or culling are other potential problems.

66

Dead pigeons, whether squashed by a vehicle or ‘normal

bodied’ dead are generally ignored by humans. However, flies and other creatures, especially during the warmer season will feast on the carcass, not giving a damn how the pigeon died.

Call your local SPCA, humane society or bird rescue centre and ask them if they rescue pigeons. If not, you have two options; walk away and feel sad or bring the pigeon back home and treat it. For this you need a box to transport it in, a First Aid Kit for birds, and commitment.

Even healthy urban pigeons are easier to catch than other bird species. In the case of a sickly urban pigeon move slowly and don’t make any sharp sudden actions or loud noises. Slowly crouch down, then reach out to the pigeon and gently but firmly hold it in your hands; don’t press on the leg bones.

It would be a good idea to speak to the pigeon in a low-soft voice, calming it down. Don’t be embarrassed to say really sweet things to the pigeon. They understand tone and softness in a voice. Furthermore, your mannerisms should convey a message of love, caring and extreme empathy.

It’s a sad site seeing a pigeon, or in the case of city folks like myself a wounded squirrel.

There was one site I can never get out of my head. A squirrel who was paralyzed from ‘waist down’, meaning its hind quarters was withering away on the corner of the sidewalk beside a tree.

Although I didn’t see what’d happened I suspect that the squirrel’s hind quarters were run over by a bicycle. As expected when I returned (a few minutes later) the squirrel had vanished!

I’ve always wondered about these scenarios; did a Samaritan

pick up the squirrel or was the poor guy consumed by a hungry predator? Who knows?

Finding

an

aviary

veterinarian

usually

entails

some

searching. I have some URLs pertaining to this matter in the INFORMATION BOOTH (ORGANIZATIONS SECTION).

In addition, you can contact a veterinary clinic or

hospital in your area, an exotic bird hospital (even if they don’t cater to pigeons they should be able to direct you to the proper place), pigeon fancier organizations and you can ask around. The internet and the yellow pages are 2 good tools.

Be forewarned that aviary veterinarians, especially those specialized in pigeons are not as numerous as companion animal veterinarians.

If you find an avian veterinarian do the following as a minimum:

-Choosing the right veterinarian is one of the essentials for maintaining your bird’s health.

67

-If you don’t already have a trusted aviary veterinarian ask family members and friends. Be specific about what you want and ask important/relevant questions.

-Contact veterinary schools and seek a recommendation. They should direct you to their successful alumni or veterinarians with good reputations.

-Membership in the American Veterinary Medical Association or if in Canada the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association is a bonus. As these vets have access to up-to-date and vital information pertaining to the veterinary medical field. In do not live in North America find out if your country has a counterpart and if the vet you seek is a member.

-Research the vet’s name and hospital or clinic. Look for good and bad opinions. It is up to you, the guardian of the pigeon to do all of the work. The trust is in your hands.

-Make absolutely certain that the vet has specialized or has relevant experience treating birds.

-Normally, medical personnel have their diplomas and

certificates posted in their office wall. Make a direct, pertinent inquiry.

-If not an emergency, call in advance and ASK QUESTIONS!

Make sure that you write all the questions down beforehand.

-Get a price range for the work to be done. Remember, you are paying, not the vet, staff or pigeon. If the vet and staff refuse to give you any estimate even for a basic exam, maybe you should look for another vet.

-Ask the vet how many years of experience he/she has had treating birds, and specifically, pigeons.

-The vet hospital or clinic should be clean, and the work and duties should appear organized.

-The staff should not be aloof. They should answer your questions.

-The

staff

should

appear

caring;

if

they

appear

disinterested, unfriendly or apathetic don’t say anything; just walk away. Remember, it is easier to do this before you’ve made an appointment and paid for your visit.

-Ask to see the examining area and living quarters of

hospitalized birds. Check the cages and take a close look at the birds therein.

-When taking the pigeon to the vet it should be in a cage.

-During the examination the vet should closely examine the behaviour of your pigeon. He/she should also ask you pertinent questions (past health, behavioural problems, the problem at hand or reason for the visit).

-The droppings should also be examined.

-The pigeon will have to be removed from the cage.

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-The vet should handle the pigeon carefully and intently without showing anger, frustration or excessive nervousness.

-The vet may recommend diagnostic testing.

-If applicable inquire about parking, directions and

opening hours.

-Ask about their emergency services.

At veterinary clinics and hospitals the most important

personnel

are

the

veterinarian/s,

veterinary

nurse/s

and

veterinary

technician/s.

The receptionist

may

also

be

a

technician or a nurse depending on the budget of the place. The receptionist holds a very important job. He/she can answer many of your non-technical questions pertaining to your bird or other animal species.

The majority of veterinarians diagnose and treat companion animals (especially dogs and cats) these are the animals most likely to be owned in urban areas. Other vets may work with livestock, birds, livestock, wild animals, professorship or do research.

If you want to be an avian veterinarian but aren’t in the field and have no experience you should volunteer in a clinic, hospital, pigeon fancy or other bird organization, rescue center or at your local zoo. The following DO NOT always mix well with each other:

-Loving a specific animal species.

-Working with the particular species.

-Spending countless hours in school studying about the

particular species.

In addition to volunteer work you should be aware that to become a veterinarian you must attend an accredited institution with an accredited program in pre-veterinary studies. Or you can major in biology, zoology, animal science or a related field. Be aware

that

the

latter

majors

must

meet

the

particular

requirements of courses required to enter into an accredited vet school.

Be advised that the competition is quite fierce. Your GPA must be high. Each veterinary school has a specific standardized test that you must take and receive a minimum grade to be taken into consideration.

There are 27 Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) accredited

vet schools in the United States. Contact the AVMA for information, speak to your academic adviser or visit a vet clinic or hospital and make your inquiry. Make sure that you don’t visit them when they’re overly busy.

69

If you’ve been blessed by completing your DVM degree,

afterwards you must take the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam to obtain your vet license. Find out how, when and where you can take it, the minimum grade to pass and know what the fees are.

Your state or in the case of Canada your province may require you to be tested on laws and regulations pertaining to veterinary medicine.

If you’ve gotten this far the next move is to specialize in

the treatment of birds through coursework and residencies. It is advisable that you become an active member of the Association of Avian Veterinarians.

The aforementioned statements are basic and general. Be

persistent and do your own research.

Below is the {American} Veterinarian Oath:

Being admitted to the profession of veterinary medicine, I solemnly swear to use my scientific and skills for the benefit of society through the protection of animal health and welfare, the prevention and relief of animal suffering, the conservation of animal resources, the promotion of public health, and the advancement of medical knowledge.

I will practice my profession conscientiously, with dignity, and in keeping with the principles of veterinary medical ethics. I accept as a lifelong obligation the continual improvement of my professional knowledge and competence.

Veterinary technicians or animal technicians are persons

who have received formal training in the assistance of

veterinarians.

In brief their duties in hospitals or clinics include:

-Collection of urine, skin, fecal and blood samples

=Performing general lab work and testing

=Acquiring and documenting information about specific cases

-Preparation of required instruments and surgical equipment

-Assisting the veterinarian in various task including

physical examinations, surgery (including but not limited to anaesthesia)

-Dressing wounds

-Recording temperature, pulse and respiration

-Basic dental procedures

-Dressing wounds and applying splints, etc.

-Communicating with animal owners and answering basic

questions

Vet

techs

cannot

diagnose

illnesses,

prescribe

any

medication or perform any kind of surgery and whatever is prohibited by the laws of the jurisdiction therein.

70

Below is the {American} Veterinary Technician Oath (USA):

I solemnly dedicate myself to aiding animals and society by Providing excellent care and services for animals, by alleviating animal suffering, and by promoting public health.

I accept my obligations to practice my practice conscientiously and with sensitivity, adhering to the profession’s Code of Ethics, and furthering my knowledge and competence through a commitment to lifelong learning.

In general, veterinary assistants who work in vet clinics or hospitals rule do not need any formal training. They assist veterinary assistant; their duties may include carrying, lifting or holding down animals and other non-technical jobs.

The title veterinary nurse and veterinary technician are often used to describe the same position. It depends on what country you live in. Basically, they have many of the same functions. However, most individuals in this arena prefer the title of ‘Veterinary Nurse’. They are professionals, so this title is their right.

Pigeons are intelligent animals. Although this species is sometimes used in intrusive vivisection experiments in the past they were also used in psychological experiments.

Burrhus Fredric Skinner was born on March 20, 1904 – August

18, 1990), was born in Susquehanna, Pennsylvania.

Throughout his career as a behaviourist psychologist he was

a staunch advocate of Behaviourism, more specifically Operant Conditioning. Unlike Classical Conditioning which observes physiological responses to stimuli (Ivan Pavlov was the founder of Classical Conditioning), Operant Conditioning at its core focuses on observable behaviours excluding internal thoughts, feelings, and beliefs and free will. The sub-conscious is excluded.

Skinner was the creator of the Skinner box. The Skinner box

is a sound-proof, light resistant cardboard box or cage used for animal

experimentation

in

his

experiments.

Ideally,

the

‘chamber’ contained a bar, lever or other gadget to be pushed or pressed by the animal subject/s to obtain a reward/s or to avoid an irritable or painful stimulus, usually but not exclusively an electrical shock current.

Skinner experimented with pigeons on numerous occasions.

Pigeons’ remarkable vision and homing abilities were already known. However, Skinner’s experiments indicated the sheer level of intelligence of these birds.

But it wasn’t until April 1940, while Skinner was on board a train heading to a Midwestern Psychological Association meeting that he took notice of a flock of birds flying in perfect formation parallel to the train.

71

Skinner came to the conclusion right then and there that birds could be used as tools. They had incredible vision, homing abilities and manoeuvrability.

Shortly afterwards, while in Minneapolis Skinner purchased several pigeons from a poultry shop.

His initial experiments involved repressing the feet and toes of pigeons and inducing them to use their vision to peck at a target.

In an incredibly short period of time, Skinner had

conditioned the pigeons to perform an array of behaviours including but not limited to playing rudimentary tunes on a 4-key piano and pecking at a Ping-Pong ball.

But from the very beginning, Skinner wanted to use pigeons in pigeon-guided missiles.

This undertaking was named Project Pigeon. The idea was to bring forth a pigeon-guided missile for the U.S. Military.

The

National

Defence

Research

Committee

reluctantly

contributed monies for Skinner’s research. Project Pigeon was never used during the Second World War. In fact, the project was cancelled in 1944, before the war’s end. Although Project Pigeon, later called Project Orcon was re-established in 1948 it was cancelled for the second and final time in 1953.

Pigeons have been used in experiments in comparative

psychology; including but not limited to animal cognition.

In

1995,

Watanabe,

Sakamoto

and

Wakita

detailed

an

experiment which indicated that pigeons can be trained to accurately distinguish between paintings by Picasso and Monet.

In short, they were trained to obtain food by continuous pecking when shown a Picasso painting; continuous pecking when shown a Monet did not result in a reward (food).

Pigeons can also analyze knotty and tangled problems, apply

sufficient attention between different dimensions of a stimulus, and pass the mirror test.

In addition, urban pigeons cannot be permanently repulsed from properties through the use of scarecrows or other ‘fake’

inanimate objects. Pigeons, upon seeing ‘a new repellent’ will eye it but usually will not dare to land or perch near it.

However, when they pass it they’ll eye it again and again, getting closer to it and then realizing that it is frozen will in some instances actually poop on it. I know for a fact that pigeons have done this sort of thing in our city. It’s almost like their thumbing their beaks at us; trying to say ‘hey, we know it’s fake!’

Pigeons are very talented birds. I will briefly discuss a few of the most notable pigeon species from around the world.

Broadly speaking, though, there are compact breeds, crested breeds, leg muffed breeds, pouters and croppers, fantailed 72

breeds, short-faced breeds, wattle beaked breeds, frill-backs, frill-fronted breeds and breeds.

Crowned Pigeons also referred to as Victoria Crowned

Pigeons received their name as a tribute to Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom.

Crowned Pigeons are the larger than any other member of the

pigeon family. They are quite beautiful, coloured blue or bluish gray with a large quite noticeable regal crest. They inhabit forests of New Guinea.

Crowned Pigeons lay one egg. In addition, because they’re hunted it is imperative that they receive protection. It is classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List.

Pouter pigeons are domesticated descendants of the Rock

Pigeon. Their most striking feature is an unusually large, inflatable crop. The crop, when inflated looks like a gargantuan goitre. You must see this pigeon species in person or in a picture to understand.

Jacobin Pigeons, descendants of the Rock Pigeon are known for their incredibly large hooded heads. The feathers are so large trimming them is necessary. This is a tall and slim bird.

Jacobin Pigeons were named after the Jacobin order of. The peculiar hood is a mutation that identified in the 16th century.

Males can be bellicose.

Jacobin Pigeons’ vision is several compromised. They can be

snuck up on and killed quite easily.

The Jacobin Pigeons’ vision is compromised from the rear.

This is often the main attack route of a predator such as a cat.

Fantail Pigeons are regarded with favour, as they are well-

known by many people including pigeon fanciers. This bird’s most peculiar trait is a fan-shaped tail containing up to 42 feathers arranged in 2 rows. Most species of pigeons have 12-15 feathers.

Because the Fantail pigeon has so many feathers it does not have an oil preening gland at the base of its tail. Other pigeon breeds have this gland.

Tumbler pigeons are descendants of the Rock Pigeon. These pigeons have been specially bred at least since the 16th century, to perform aerial acrobatics, ‘summersaults’, tumble and row over backwards while in the air.

Even the renowned Charles Darwin made reference to Tumblers

in his book The Origin of Species.

Tumblers

are

popular

in

pigeon

shows

and

flying

demonstrations. They have an easy-going temperament.

Green Imperial Pigeons (Ducula Aenea) is an arboreal forest

bird widespread southern Asia, India. Nest building and eating are done in trees. One white egg is laid.

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Green Imperial Pigeons have a well-filled and rounded

physique; 45 centimetres or 17.7 inches. Flight is swift and direct.

Overall, Green Imperial Pigeons lack gregariousness but

will occasionally form flocks of limited size.

Tooth-Billed

Pigeons

(Didunculus

Strigirostris)

also

referred to as Samoan Pigeon is native to forested areas in Samoa. Some experts belied that this pigeon species may be a link between pigeons and the Dodo Bird (Extinct).

Tooth-Billed Pigeons derived their name from their bulky powerfully curved and hooked beak. The lower mandible has 3

tooth-like protrusions on each side. This bird is classified as Endangered by the IUCN Red List.

The Bleeding Heart Pigeon (Gallicolumba luzonica) or Luzon Bleeding Heart Pigeon is found in tropical rainforests in the Luzon and Polillo Islands in the Philippines. Their most prominent feature is a deep red patch on the chest that looks like a bloodied wound. Most of the rest of the body is gray-coloured.

The Bleeding Heart Pigeon has many animal predators in its habitat; humans also catch them for the pet trade. To aggravate matters, they’re primarily terrestrial birds, eating from the forest floor. Although they’re able to fly short distances to evade danger, as soon as they descend to the forest floor they run away. In effect, they’re somewhat easy targets for humans.

This bird needs to be protected; the IUCN Red List has listed them as Near Threatened.

The Mourning Dove is widespread throughout much of the

world; including sub-species it can be found in the United States, Canada and parts of Mexico, Central America, South America, Bermuda and the Bahamas.

But the Mourning Dove or Turtle Dove is especially

‘renowned’ as a ‘song-bird’ and hunted bird. 20 million or more of these birds are shot and killed by bird hunters every single year. Ironically, this bird is a relative of the exterminated Passenger Pigeon.

But unlike the Passenger Pigeon the Mourning Dove has a voracious breeder and as a popular game-bird their numbers are managed by authorities. There are an estimated 500 million Mourning Doves throughout the world. They are classified as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List.

Trumpeter pigeons are bred for show not for any kind of flight. They have an unusual call, hence their name.

Pigeons have been by our side for thousands of years. We have used them for entertainment, a messengers, companionship, vivisection, as symbols of peace and love and as food on our plate.

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Keeping of racing or entertainment pigeons entails much

dedication, work, love and difficult decisions. Pigeons who do not meet the grade for entertainment or racing may be culled.

Culled, is a sugar-coated word that means killed. Like the Greyhound racing industry, every single individual housed and trained cannot make the grade.

Pigeons help to make an urban area more beautiful and

lively. We have somehow lost touch with nature, including its animals. We hardly ever take notice of the smaller birds.

Pigeons and gulls are larger.

But pigeons can also become a nuisance, pooping, begging and sometimes obstructing our walkway. Humane measure of population control should be tried, first, if needed. Lethal measures, only as a last resort, should be quick and direct. No pigeon/s should have to suffer immensely for a prolonged period of time.

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INFORMATION BOOTH (PRIMATES AND PIGEONS):

The words that you see after each URL (on its right), is what you type inside your search engine box to find the particular site. For example:

www.worldwildlife.org/species/finder/crossrivergorilla/crossrivergoril la.html WWF: Cross River Gorilla

For the above example you should type WWF: Cross River Gorilla on Yahoo, Google or another good search engine. After double clicking you’ll see options below the search engine. Unless the page no longer exists you should see the appropriate option.

There is however, one important exception. I have used the IUCN

Red List in this book. If you are searching for a particular species on this site, type in THE SCIENTIFIC NAME IN OF THE

SOUGHT AFTER SPECIES IN THE WEBSITE SEARCH ENGINE BOX. DO NOT

TYPE IN THE COMMON NAME.

You should have easy access to 2 important conversion sites:

www. metric-conversions.org/weight/grams-to-ounces.htm Grams to Ounces (g to oz) Conversion Calculator

www. manuelsweb.com/in_cm.htm Inches to cm, cm to inches calculator www.iucn.org IUCN Homepage (International Union for Conservation of Nature)

www.iucnredlist.org IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

(International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species)

www.cites.org CITES: Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna