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Hank: It’s interesting there’s no pigeon society is there? They’re going to migrate out of the northern states of Colorado and Utah in the winter because it’s just not hospitable there for them, but in the southern states they might winter in Southern New Mexico, Arizona. They can nest two or three times a year we think. They fly afar. If you watch nature shows you’ve seen adult birds feed their baby birds, and it’s usually pretty gnarly, but pigeon milk is especially gnarly. It apparently has declined, also, we think, and we’re unsure what it is in the interior right now. Every episode of Hunt Gather Talk digs deep into the life, habits, hunting, lore, myth and of course prepping and cooking of a particular animal. Folks have speculated it’s half of what it was today what it was in 1970. Is that something the population could sustain? It’s where I’m stationed, so there’s ample opportunity for things like elk, which I’ve hunted, of course, antelope, and deer. You need your band-tail permit. They are all red meat as all their friends are. Again, the nesting I don’t think is too specific. I interact with a lot of hunters, but these guys are getting who knows how many calls every day. It’s usually free. Pigeons are to doves what hares are to cottontails, or geese are to ducks: Bigger, smarter, tougher, older. I hunt pigeons because I want to hunt pigeons the right way. Hank: But you’ll typically see them on any given hunt? So sharks one of the reasons why certain species of sharks can be threatened, or even endangered is because they’re kind of the same deal. I got in, but I had made friends at Sac State, so in hindsight it wasn’t the greatest career move. And then if you get to that point then you’re in a much better situation to get your two, but if not, you’re really just breaking your neck looking at them. Go ahead you can find them, but good luck seeing them in hunting season, but they like these big conifers, and they like drop-offs. So as you touched on some people think there’s subspecies. I mean, they sound just like regular pigeons when they fly that whistley sound. Well, typically you’re not shooting at a fleeing pigeon so they’re half that fast they’re still fast. I used to live and work in the Sierra close to where you were, Hank, and not at Ice House, but there’s a well-known spring up by Ice House. So you’re like, holy shit, it’s a band-tail let’s get it. Mark Seamans: Sure, so band-tails, I’d say generally because there’s some big exceptions, but they generally follow that same pattern that ducks do. Mark Seamans: Yes, they’re gorgeous, especially in the hand they’re really gorgeous. It’s bigger than the typical neighborhood pigeon, the Columbia Livia, the rock dove. I just don’t know. Have it it. I am far from a coot expert. Mark Seamans: Yeah, there’s a lot of stuff named after him, actually. I’ll put a link in the show notes so you can identify that tree. What is it about pigeons that gets them at this effectively a salt lake that you don’t see raptors there, you don’t see hummingbirds there, or whatever? They overlap in a season with dusky grouse here, so I’m more opportunistic, and what I’m looking for is a berry patch, or something, a well, a big berry patch. I like to try just because I like to be out in the mountains here, but I just don’t see a whole lot of pigeons here. You can sometimes tell if you have old birds. Mark Seamans: Yeah, even as you move north they’re more of a lower mountain elevation bird. B, it is a big pigeon. Hank: Gotcha. Features: Slightly larger than its cousin, the rock pigeon, band-tailed pigeons have a grey body.As its name suggests, a wide pale band stretches along the tip of tail feathers. The snipe is the only one that comes to mind. They can hit almost 100 miles an hour. Which is the birds that fly up and down Canada, United States, and Mexico that aren’t ducks and geese. John Neville Bird Songs of Canada, Vol. There may be some out that I don’t know. They fledge their young. They can fly in, and it’s like, okay, we’re going to get to see them. Preheat the oven to 425°F. So there was some initial impetus by the states and folks involved before the Migratory Bird Treaty Act to get a handle on band-tailed pigeons. Hank: Yeah. Stir the root vegetables, which should be starting to get brown. It’s the easiest bird. It may not always be that maybe a little more sometimes. People see them, and they note them, and so people go and look at them, but they’re just not widespread here. So walk me through them from I don’t know spring through the following spring. In fact, the Band-tailed Pigeon offers striking parallels with the Passenger Pigeon. So this is that science and scientists like yourself are underpinning most of the seasons in the United States, right? Mark Seamans: Well, it does change because what you may find on their summer grounds may not be available on their wintering grounds, but, again, it’s what’s available, so in the breeding range in the North when I’ve seen them they’re eating a lot of berries. By Hank Shaw on September 25, 2020 - 1 Comment. They’re way more in contact with the everyday hunter than I am. You could also use ptarmigan or sharp-tailed grouse. And there’s this great book that I’m going to put a link to in the show notes it’s called Band-Tailed Pigeons. So most of the band-tails from British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, Northern California are going to move South. For the migratory birds there’s a large framework in place about how we develop harvest management plans. Now I’ll go back to what I just said about the feathers not being on very tough. I’m an interested fan, but there’s a threat that we weren’t going to have a college football season, and there’s still some question about what it’s going to look like. And you know the success rate is not high on band-tailed pigeons anyway in the interior because they are hard to find. Band-tailed pigeons are an obsession of mine. Hank: So there’s this big rumor that if you talk to duck hunters that everybody’s seen coots fly, right? I will add I think one of my favorite ways to cook, and I haven’t had the opportunity to shoot a band-tailed pigeon when I’ve been out camping, but is over a tripod, and just a smoke and water steam mix. Mark Seamans: Well, when I went to graduate school another thing that surprised me was somebody might actually pay you to go to graduate school instead of you having to pay tuition. Does this sound similar to you, or you do something else? The harvest of them is regulated to the point where mortality from us shooting them is compensatory it’s not additive. You eat mule deer. Remove the pigeons from the oven and set on a cutting board. And they only live on the east side of the Sierra. I would start at bird feeders. Are the populations increasing or decreasing. Whereas, in the Pacific up and down the coast that must be the case. And when they fly they typically dip into gun range. Added a 1/2 cup of chopped sweet onion as well towards the end. They eat acorns. I’ve seen a little bit in other doves, but it’s produced from glands in the crop, and it’s partially from what’s in the crop, but mostly it’s produced from the epithelial lining I believe within the crop. But pigeons, band-tailed or common, are more than just a challenging target. Hank: That was my thought, too. Hank: I’ll see if I can post a link to a video of pigeon milk. I don’t know why. Hank: Well, give me an idea about this migration. Band-tailed pigeons are our only common forest pigeon (red-billed pigeon being an uncommon resident of southern Texas). Some of them in academia, and I thought about that, but also with the USGS which does a lot of research, and the U.S. Mark Seamans: I don’t know if it’s a good analogy, but I like college football. We couldn’t catch any anywhere. Roast pigeon is a bird to get down on, too: Pick it up and gnaw. It’s a scrubby, stocky pinyon with very small cones that have big nuts in them. Band-tails are large, stocky pigeons with small heads, long, rounded tails and pointed wings. I know personally of at least a four-year-old male mourning dove because Holly used to ban them for the State of California, and this has been years since she’s done it, and there’s still one kicking around, but typically they only live less than a year. I’ve never heard of anybody hunting pigeons with dogs. It’s generally trying to maintain that tradition, and one of the concerns when you get to closed seasons, I mean, a closed season here or there maybe, but long-term closure you lose that continuity. There was never that much harvest of the interior population. Yeah, the budgies do the same thing in Australia those little teeny green parakeets. Hank: So this is a unique bird in the sense of most of the birds we hunt and you just alluded to that are ground birds. The ones in the interior, what we’ll call the interior, are slightly smaller, a little paler, I believe, grayer, but hard to tell apart unless you were to see them side-by-side I imagine, which I don’t think people do, but they do intermix. The band tailed Pigeon. Is everything around? And so to perpetuate that closed seasons are difficult. So I think the migration patterns, and the breeding patterns to some extent, too, are tied to that food availability. Their feet look like they’ve been walked on for years and their keelbones are super hard. Hank: Wow, less than 1,000 birds a year in the interior. Mark Seamans: I can’t say I’ve ever tried one, but it provided me a great opportunity to live in the field for about six months a year which was outstanding in some of the Western states, but more than that what it really put me in touch with was a lot of scientists who do a lot of quantitative research as it turns out. So basically what you get is you get the two legs, and then you get the crown, so the breast with the skin on the bone with the drummettes the first digit of the wing. 2010), Interior band-tailed pigeon harvest has ranged from 1,300 to 5,000 (mean = 3,292) birds per year, while Pacific Coast band-tailed pigeon harvest has ranged from 8,200 to 30,200 (mean = 17,117) birds per year. I don’t know if that’s a good analogy for hunting, but hunting stirs those same kind of emotions that you’re seeing in the hardcore college football fan right now to me. Hank: It is, it really is. to 4 salsify roots, scrubbed and cut into 2-inch lengths, or 2 roots of Hamburg or root parsley, cut into chunks. More Animals. And I’ve never seen a flock smaller than a half a dozen. Comprehensive material on the life history of the band-tailed pigeon may be found in Keppie and Braun (2000), Braun (1994), Jarvis and Passmore (1992), and Neff (1947). It lives along much of the Pacific Coast and in the mountains, moving about nomadically to feed on acorns, berries, or other wild food crops. Mark Seamans: They can, they can go really fast. Hank: Oh, yeah, there’s a college name after him in Iowa. Hank: I fell in love with this bird because, A, I love pigeon hunting because I like to eat pigeons. They’re primarily caring about hawks, so. Where most doves barely live a year, the average lifespan in the wild of a typical pigeon is five years. And then I ended up at the University of Minnesota where I got a PhD. And most people don’t even know they exist even. So for those of you who are not familiar with this bird, or with hunting this bird there’s a good reason because hunting a band-tailed pigeon in this day and age is, and we’ll get into this a little bit more later, but is ceremonial to a large extent. ), and, in some places, waste grain. I mean, I know anecdotally, and, of course, the plural of anecdote is not data, anecdotally there are way more band-tails in my particular stomping grounds now then there were 16 years ago. And the problem is I always see them when there are berries and other things around, but that area you can’t hunt it until December, and they’re not there in December, so that’s why I’m giving you a spot on the air. First, pigeons are a red meat bird and should be eaten somewhere around medium. Fish and Wildlife Service, [email protected]. He was quite the ornithologist, general scientist, and did incredible work, but wrote a paper, and there’s probably other folks. Band-tailed pigeons use these ecosystems during the winter, where they rely heavily on acorn mast for food. Expect episodes on pheasants, rabbits, every species of quail, every species of grouse, wild turkeys, rails, woodcock, pigeons and doves, and huns. You can count them at bird feeders, but we don’t know what that means really, but we were also having trouble counting the harvest because there’s so few hunters. They’ve not shut down duck hunting. Davis has a better program in the field, but that’s what I did. They don’t use mineral sites, or salt lakes, or anything like that so the general thought is that in the interior sodium is just not limiting in their environment, in their food that they’re taking in so they’re not seeking out these places. Now I don’t know if you’ve ever caught a lot of striped bass in the East Coast a 36 inch striped bass is a monster. I grew up in New Jersey. Band-tailed Pigeon. Why would you bother fish for them? Mind you, I’m not talking about hunting city pigeons, whose crops are stuffed with Doritos and cigarette butts. I don’t know if you have anything to add to that, but that was my soapbox. Paint the pigeons with more melted butter and salt them well. So in other words, if there’s 1,000 pigeons in the world 30 of them are going to die no matter what, and it doesn’t really matter if they’re shot by hunters, or if they fall out of trees, or disease, or whatever, whatever, but if hunters kill more than that 30 in a given year that’s additive, and that’s what we don’t want, but this apparently happened to the pigeons in the ’70s. Young birds have a flexible keelbone and are just generally fresher looking. And there was concern about crop depredation at one time, although that’s generally gone away. A backwoods relative of the ubiquitous Rock Pigeon, the Band-tailed Pigeon is common in forests of the Pacific Coast and the Southwest. So in the Pacific flyway where you are they will generally winter from the mid point of California South, okay? Hank: Okay, so it’s officially the central flyway, but we really think of it like the birds that go from British Columbia to Baja and then there’s a bunch of birds that go from Idaho to probably Sonora, and there are two parallel lines. They might flutter around. And I’m sure having just witnessed the passenger pigeon essentially go extinct by that point he was concerned about the band-tail because what was happening is you would have these massive hunts that were mostly occurring in Southern California, but they were also occurring in the North, too, around mineral sites which we can talk about, also, but these pigeons would congregate in different areas in the South during the wintering season. I just started to work, and I went to college part-time thinking I’ll figure something out, and got into biology. A backwoods relative of the ubiquitous Rock Pigeon, the Band-tailed Pigeon is common in forests of the Pacific Coast and the Southwest. Washington's native pigeon, the Band-tailed, is soft gray like the Rock Dove, but longer and sleeker. I was talking to him about this, and he’s like, “Well, you should have me on as well.” Like, “I can’t have you on every episode.”. Mark Seamans: It’s right about there, yeah. Hank: So there’s two flyways of band-tails, right? They might try and avoid you a little bit. It’s a creature of the West, and if you’re listening to this anywhere East of the Colorado Rockies chances are you may not even know that this bird exists. Hank: Yeah, especially, pigeons because they’re long-lived they can be tough so you got to be more careful when you cook a pigeon than you would with a dusky. But I am still working out the ins and outs of this thing — and I wanted you to be able to make roast pigeon without special equipment. When the oven is ready, put the pigeons into the roasting pan, breast side up. So California doesn’t have to look like Oregon, doesn’t have to look like Nevada for the nonmigratory piece. The band-tailed pigeon is the closest genetic relative of the extinct passenger pigeon. Mark Seamans: And it’s really tied to food availability people think. By Hank Shaw on December 22, 2014, Updated May 17, 2020 - 27 Comments. A white crescent or collar on the nape on adults is distinctive among pigeons. I don’t think there is anything for pigeons is there? Many fewer hunters, of course, but the bag limit also has something to do with that. It’s every week or so as far as we know about the return rates as best we can monitor those. 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