Needed: Computer, Internet access
Task: Read the following text about Homing
Pigeons and answer the questions at the end of the reading selection.
Feel free to visit the Hyper links throughout your reading.
(Hyper links are highlighted words)
Homing Pigeons are very interesting
birds. They are different from pigeons you would
frequent at parks because they are able to find their
way home when released from distances hundreds of miles from home.
Scientists think Homing Pigeons have Magnetite within
their brain that "draws" or "pulls" them home.
If you were to place a Homing Pigeon next to
a wild pigeon you would not notice many differences.
They look remarkably alike.
A Homing Pigeon may look more muscular than a wild pigeon
and normally has an
identification band on its leg.
here for more background information on Homing Pigeons.
Raising Homing Pigeons is fun.
You need a "loft" or house for your pigeons.
A loft should have an indoor area as well as an outdoor
area. The outdoor area
must be caged in with wire so the pigeons can't fly away.
A wired enclosure also protects
the pigeons from predators such as Raccoons, Opossums,
Hawks, or even your neighbor's
cat. Lofts can range in size depending on how many
pigeons you have. Pigeons are
birds that "roost" or sleep on something high off the
ground so roosts need to be provided
by their owners inside the loft. Water must be provided
at all times for drinking and bathing.
Small tubs work well for bathing pans and self waterers
work great for the pigeons to drink
from. This will keep them "coooo"l during warm weather.
Pigeons should be fed 2 times
daily a mixture of grains and pellets. Pigeon pellets
are available at most feed stores.
here to find out more about Homing Pigeon lofts.
Male and female pigeons usually
remain mated for life. Once the pigeons decide to
breed they work together in building their nest.
Most Homing Pigeon Hobbyists provide
the pigeons with nesting materials such as hay, straw,
or pine needles. Once the nest is
built the female pigeon lays 2 white eggs about 1 1/2
inches in length. The eggs are laid
2 days apart. Once the second egg has been laid
the male and female pigeons take turns
incubating the eggs. The male usually during the
day- the female at night. Approximately
19 days after the second egg was laid the chicks
hatch. They are covered in golden
yellow down and are quite a sight to see. Oversized
beaks make it easy for the parents
to feed the chicks by regurgitating into their mouths.
Within days, the chicks have
tripled in size.
It is important that the owner
place the identification bands on the chicks
after the 5th day. (The band fits the leg perfectly
at this stage)
here for information about Homing Pigeon bands.
Within 6 weeks the chicks will
venture out of the nest and begin practicing flight. Baby
Homing Pigeons are flying within 2 months and can be
trained to return to the loft by
teaching them to use a trap door entrance and released
from short distances from the loft.
As the pigeons learn to use the door accordingly,
they may be taken further from the loft and released. Once the pigeons
have successfully returned from 40 mile trips, the pigeons have
found their bearings and can be taken much greater distances.
here for information on training Homing Pigeons.
here to see a video of a beautiful male Homing Pigeon
Pigeons are relatively easy to
take care of but their owners need to be responsible in
meeting their food and water needs. Raising Homing
Pigeons can be a rewarding experience
and a lot of fun!
1.) How is a Homing Pigeon different from a wild
pigeon? How are they similar?
2.) What do scientists believe allows Homing Pigeons
to find their way home?
3.) What is a pigeon loft?
4.) What does it mean when a bird roosts?
5.) List 3 predators of Homing Pigeons.
6.) What do Homing Pigeons eat?
7.) What do pigeons construct their nests
8.) How many eggs do most pigeons lay?
9.) How long to the parents incubate the eggs?
10.) Explain how baby pigeons are fed by their parents.
11.) Why do pigeon owners put leg bands on their birds?
12.) How soon after hatching can a baby pigeon fly?
13.) Explain how a pigeon owner trains young Homing Pigeons.
14.) How do you think Homing Pigeons got their name?
15.) What did you learn about Homing Pigeons that you
didn't know before?
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