I recently had a rather interesting comment on an earlier post of mine about Crested Pigeons (see Great Birding Moments #5 Crested Pigeons).
I have a crested pigeon sitting on my shoulder at the moment. I went for a walk one morning and saw her on the footpath. She ran towards me, not usual pigeon behaviour. I picked her up, she cooed and closed her eyes. I took her home and fed her and she has stayed. She follows me around the house and is the most inquisitive bird I have ever known. She is quite content to be scratched around the head and calls to me whenever I enter the room. She was obviously someone’s pet but I had no success in locating them. I originally had intended to feed her up and let her go again but she is so tame she would have been a danger to herself. She lives with my 3 cockatiels and probably thinks that she is one.
What an amazing experience! Karen is certainly right in deducing that it is someone’s pet, because the behaviour is certainly consistent with a bird that has been used to being handled.
Crested Pigeons are reasonably common in aviculture, especially in zoo collections. This species normally requires a large planted aviary and will breed readily in captivity.
I find it interesting that it is quite at ease in her home and with the Cockatiels. It must make her day very pleasant to have such a lovely team of bird friends to keep her company.
She is probably right that it is safer in her home rather than fending for itself in the wild. If released, it would probably be taken by a hawk very quickly as it would not be as alert to the dangers presented by living life in the wild.
Please note: the laws about keeping native Australian birds in captivity varies from state to state. Please check with the relevant authorities before adopting birds. Your state National Parks and Wildlife website is a good place to start. You local pet shop should also be able to help.
Update: This article was edited and updated in July 2015. The photos below were also added.