Until recently I had never seen Band-tailed Pigeons (Patagioenas fasciata) anywhere near my home. I live at 1600 foot (488 meter) elevation in Oak Savannah/ Gray Pine habitat in Northern California. According to the range maps this bird is a breeding resident of the West in montane conifer or mixed-species forest dominated by pines and oaks at 1,600–2,700 meter elevation1.
Of course I posted my observation on eBird last week of several flocks, each numbering 40 to 50 birds each as an estimated 150 birds. When I got to the page to submit my checklist, I got the message that this was an “unusual number of this species at this time of year in this area.” Well, I kinda figured that since I had not seen them in the area in the past 35 years! Click on photos for full sized images.
The first time I watched them fly over my property I thought, “I hope those aren’t Eurasian Collared-Doves!” They looked darker than collared-doves to me and their flight pattern was different. I was on my way to work that morning and as I approached the main gravel road leading out of my neighborhood, I noticed that a large flock of birds were perched in a Gray Pine adjacent to the road. Of course, as usual, I had my camera on the front seat of my car 😉
Band-tailed Pigeons don’t usually migrate through this area until May or June but have been reported as early as late February in Humboldt County on the California Coast1.
We usually spot them at Lassen Volcanic National Park in the summer but it was a special treat to have them fly over my house and now be able to count them as a yard bird!
I found this video with great close-ups of this beautiful bird.
Larry Jordan was introduced to birding after moving to northern California where he was overwhelmed by the local wildlife, forcing him to buy his first field guide just to be able to identify all the species visiting his yard. Building birdhouses and putting up feeders brought the avian fauna even closer and he was hooked. Larry wanted to share his passion for birds and conservation and hatched The Birder's Report in September of 2007. His recent focus is on bringing the Western Burrowing Owl back to life in California where he also monitors several bluebird trails. He is a BirdLife Species Champion and contributes to several other conservation efforts, being the webmaster for Wintu Audubon Society and the Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Urban Bird Foundation. He is now co-founder of a movement to create a new revenue stream for our National Wildlife Refuges with a Wildlife Conservation Pass.
Pat’s 2018 Year List – 334
Tom’s 2018 Year List – 203
Donna’s 2018 Year List – 176
Clare M’s 2018 Year List – 301
Corey’s 2018 Year List – 125
Donna’s 2017 Year List – 840
Pat’s 2017 Year List – 746
Corey’s 2017 Year List – 568
Clare M’s 2017 Year List – 458
Jochen’s 2017 Year List – 250
Tom’s 2017 Year List – 251
Pat’s 2016 Year List – 882
Donna’s 2016 Year List – 709
Clare M’s 2016 Year List – 464