Pigeons are among the words oldest birds to be domesticated. According to Wikipedia, these birds were raised in Mesopotamia during the Agrarian revolution about 5000 years ago. Cuba Pigeon perhaps was among them.
They are very famous because even today pigeons are used as a sign of peace. After arbitration during periods of war, white pigeons are released on the air as a symbol of peace.
In Christian faith, pigeons are a symbol of the Holy Spirit. This is according to the Bible teaching that the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus at River Jordan after He was baptized by John the Baptist.
During war time, pigeons were used as messengers where they could carry mail and take vital information that helped save lives and rescue casualties.
Features of Cuba Pigeon
The Cuba pigeon is a beautiful bird that you will find yourself staring at. This medium sized beauty has a grey body with tight feathers pack together an indication of a game bird.
They have a blue head with the blue color extending under the beak from the throat area up to the top breast. A white marking runs from the under beak to the back of the earlobes and separates the two blue regions.
The beak is pink and tipped blue. Eye color is black and the legs are pink and featherless while the feet are greyish. On each foot, there are four toes that are well spaced.
Cuba pigeons have long tail feathers that slant down at an angle. These birds have long claws that are well visible on each foot to help then hold branches firmly.
Cuba pigeons reproduce naturally although they can be captured and interbred with other pigeon breeds. They mate naturally and lay eggs.
These birds make a simple nest comprised of straw and thin sticks high up on trees or in building chimneys and ceilings.
After mating, female Cuba pigeons take 12 to 13 day and lay between 1 to 3 white eggs that hatch after a period of 18 days.
The baby Cuba pigeons also called squeakers or squabs hatch with little downy feathers and are completely dependent on their parents for food.
Squabs or baby pigeons remain in the nest for 4 to 6 weeks until they are fully feathered and strong enough to fly.
After flying, these little buddies accompany their parents and are fed for the next few days until they learn how to search food and evade predators.
What do Cuba pigeons eat?
Pigeons have a wide diet that comprises of an array of foods. Their most favorite snack is insects and worms. They will eat grubs and grains they get on the ground too.
Feeding them with bird seed and meal worms is an act of kindness that will keep these birds keep coming back to your backyard.
You can choose to share your left over rice but remember that they do not need added oils, butter and any salt.
They require and drink plenty of clean drinking water in plenty of it.
In the wild, Cuba pigeons have a lifespan of 3 to 6 years. However, this period may be short if they are faced by threats like harsh elements, diseases and predators.
Pigeons captured and raised in bird aviaries can live up to 15 years. Often, pigeons in captivity are raised as pets and not for their squab or pigeon meat.
Birds in captivity are well fed and enjoy good living conditions in with the protection of their masters and are free from predators.
Pigeons raised for meat or squab may have few day to enjoy life and are butchered as soon as they attain the right market weight.
Threats facing the Cuba pigeon
Pigeons are faced by a number of threats that reduces their life expectancy. The main threat facing the Cuba pigeon is predators like hawks and other birds of prey.
These birds are also poisoned by farmers because of the great damage they do to crops especially cereals like wheat on farms.
Despite this, these birds are considered a threat in town because of their droppings. On average, a single pigeon can excrete 12 kgs of droppings in a year.
Pigeon poop is sticky on glass surfaces and they soil many walls of tall buildings. This makes them get hunted down and chased away using birds of prey like falcons.
Other pigeon breeds
Other common breeds of pigeons are:
- Ice pigeon
- Oriental Roller
- Antwerp Smerle
- Dutch Beauty Homer
- Kamyshin pigeon
Facts about pigeons
They can fly between 600 and 700 miles in a single day. The longest recorded flight was 55 days in the 19th century. They flew from Africa to England in Europe.
Pigeons fly by sensing the earth’s magnetic field and using the sun for direction. These birds can locate the way back home unlike other birds that fly and never come back.
These birds can fly to altitudes of 6000 or even more.
Pigeons can fly at speeds of 77 mph but speeds of 92 mph have been recorded.
They drink by sucking water up and using their beaks like straws. Other birds sip water and then throw their heads back to swallow.
These birds are very intelligent and can recognize all the 26 letters of the alphabets as well as being able to conceptualize with much ease.
They can differentiate photographs and even two different human beings in a single photograph.
Pigeons, like humans, can see color, but unlike humans they can see ultra-violet light, a part of the spectrum that humans cannot see. As a result, pigeons are used in search and rescue missions at sea because of this unique sense combined with an all-round vision.
They have the ability to recognize their own reflections in the mirror an adaptation that is common with mammals. (Source).