Pigeons and doves share many characteristics. All make some sort of “coo-ing” call and usually feed on the ground. They have the unique ability to suck up water without having to tilt back their head and both males and females produce a special “pigeon milk” for feeding young.
Unlike familiar city pigeons (called rock pigeons), band-tailed pigeons are California natives and prefer habitats with tall trees in which to hide. They eat seeds, fruit, and acorns on the ground and are frequent visitors to backyard bird feeders. To tell band-tailed pigeons apart from other pigeons, look for dark eyes, yellow bills and yellow legs.
Orinda, our band-tailed pigeon flew into a window and was treated for an injured wing in our wildlife hospital. Although her wing healed, she cannot fly well enough to live in the wild. Named for the city where she was found, Orinda has lived at the museum since 2008 and currently resides in our exhibit hall.