November 5, 2012 at 4:58 pm #605467
I just saw a strange looking pigeon outside my window. It was solid white/light grey over the entire body with a black and white long tail. Is that a dove? It wasn’t a bright white like I assume a dove would be. Any ideas?November 5, 2012 at 11:36 pm #776569
Wakeflood, interesting question and a little more complicated than I thought initially. Rock pigeons (or rock doves, depending on the nomenclature de jour) come in many color morphs. I’ve seen fancy varieties of domestic doves hanging out at Pike Place Market with their ghetto cousins, and interbreeding does take place. I’ve also seen albino pigeons. That said, I think it’s possible that your bird might be a domestic white homing pigeon. They range in color from pure white to gray with black accents. Unless it’s banded, there’s no way to tell if it’s feral, or just lost. There is a local company that does ‘dove releases’ for weddings and other events. He uses white homing pigeons; I wonder if this one is lost?November 6, 2012 at 12:48 am #776570
Thanks. That could be the case since I live near the FCA hall and they have weddings there a lot. I didn’t see a band on it’s foot though and I did try to look for one. I wish I could post a picture here somehow. I got one that’s pretty good, not great.
If it was albino, it would have had red eyes, yes? It didn’t. Standard dark/black eyes.November 6, 2012 at 12:54 am #776571November 6, 2012 at 1:09 am #776572
Thanks, square, it’s exactly right, save one thing…the tail was BANDED black and white. One decent 2 in. long band at the top of the tail and then the last 3 or so inches were body color! Wonder if it was a hybrid?November 6, 2012 at 4:44 pm #776573
Pigeons (or rock doves) come in a huge variety of morphs, as someone pointed out. Hybrids with other species are much rarer than run-of-the-mill morphs.
And just some more info you probably don’t want or need: true albinos do indeed have red eyes, but “leucistic” birds are not all that uncommon – they just have some feathers that lack color, so that can be anything from a white blotch to near-completed whiteness. In my experience, the white is not usually symmetrical. Could that be your bird?November 6, 2012 at 4:53 pm #776574
Actually, this bird’s coloring was perfectly symmetrical. Complete body ash white with the single black band at the start of the tail and then the back of the tail was body color. Really beautiful markings, just struck me as very odd. It did closely resemble the black tail dove pictures save for the tail was only partially black…November 6, 2012 at 4:58 pm #776575
And it did look a bit lost. Not scared so much as just not sure of it’s surroundings. It hunkered down for a bit in the low brush next to a big rhodie and then popped up into the rhodie a bit uneasily. Definitely not injured but more unsure of how to navigate around the branches. Unlike the jays and other birds that flit around it like a playground.
It struck me that this bird wasn’t used to that type of environment. Maybe I was just projecting having not seen anything like it?November 6, 2012 at 5:18 pm #776576November 6, 2012 at 9:17 pm #776577
Wow, kind of a cool-looking bird. I like your description of it looking uneasy. I imagine a pigeon (of the rock dove variety) would look uneasy in thick undergrowth. I don’t think you’re projecting.
Would love to see other photos if you’re able to grab one. The body looks kind of taupe to me (mourning dove colored), but that could be the light. (NOT implying it’s a mourning dove!)November 6, 2012 at 9:24 pm #776578
I do have a couple other snaps but this one is the best focused. The body color isn’t as white as the tail, which was bright white. The body was like an ash white? Like the color of paper ash. Not grey enough to be called grey, really, just soft enough to not be white. And it doesn’t have any brown tone.November 7, 2012 at 12:09 am #776579
I have a strong suspicion that this is a lost pet bird. I don’t know anything about trapping birds, but maybe someone in the local animal rescue community might have a suggestion. Or call Lien Animal Clinic and ask who to contact. As someone else may have pointed out, white birds don’t last long in the wild – too conspicuous to predators. I think your interpretation of the bird seeming nervous is probably accurate. Have you tried luring with food?November 7, 2012 at 12:24 am #776580
Unfortunately, this bird has flown. I only got a couple of minutes two separate times to look at it in the yard. Wish I knew where it took off to.
Think I should post something here on WSB about potential lost bird?November 7, 2012 at 7:24 pm #776581
Eurasian collared dove! I would have suggested it earlier, but they are more “ashy” than white. They are non-native, but becoming increasing common in Washington.
Bigger than mourning, slimmer and longer than rock dove, wide white band on end of tail.November 7, 2012 at 7:50 pm #776582
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