Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Why is it Rock Pigeon?

OK. A question for the ages: Why is the rock dove called rock pigeon? Why not underpass pigeon? Or roof dove? Or park pigeon? I've heard them called sky rats and roof rats and a few other less-polite names, too.

The official explanation is that rock (doves) pigeons formerly nested on rock ledges and cliffs. The American Ornithologists' Union adopted the name change from rock dove to rock pigeon to conform to the British Ornithologists' Union's decision to make this name change. On bird species that we share with Europe, the AOU wants its Check-list of North American Birds to be in synch with the BOU. How veddy British! Pip-pip! Cheerio!

I say old chaps! Let's call it ye olde English wire pigeon-dove from now on!
Right? BRILLiant!



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