About Doves

 


A beautiful White Dove.

 

Our White Doves are actually pure White Racing Homing Pigeons. The terms "dove" and "pigeon" can be interchangeable for any of the species. There is no difference between the two. The larger members of the family Columbidae are usually referred to as the "pigeons" and the smaller members are referred to as "doves", but there is no set size used to define either term. The Victoria Crowned Pigeon can be called the world's largest "dove" and likewise the Diamond Dove can be called the world's smallest "pigeon".
Racing Homing Pigeons are known as the "Thoroughbreds of the Sky". The hearty Racing Homer is an athlete of great strength and endurance. The Homing Pigeon was used as a "Carrier Pigeon" to carry vital messages in Word War I and Word War II. Homing Pigeons are still used as messangers in the millitary today. The Homing Pigeon can fly up to 60 mph and over 400 miles in one day.

 

 

The Homing Pigeon is aptly named for it's amazing ability to return home from vast distances away. We use White Homing Pigeons for our white dove releases becuase of this natural ability. Any other type of "dove" does not possess the homing instinct, and would perish if they were to be released into the wild.
Our Homers live in a house called a "loft," where they eat, sleep, and raise their young. The loft is the most important thing to a Homing Pigeon. It represents life itself for the bird, which is why they will fly back to it from any point of release.
All of our White Doves are banded with an ID band as a precaution so they can be returned to their loft if found.

 

 


A white Homing Pigeon enters his loft.

 


A pair of courting White Doves.

 

Doves mate for life, which is why they have always been a powerful symbol of fidelity. During courtship a pair of Homing Pigeons kiss and softly coo to each other. They both will build a nest together and take part in incubating the clutch of two white eggs. Generally the male sits on the eggs from the late morning to the afternoon, and the female will sit the rest of the time. The babies (called "squabs" or "squeakers") hatch in 17 days. The parents will care for the young in the nest for another 17 days. Both parents feed them "pigeon milk" which is secreted by the glandular walls of the crop. The male pigeon (or dove) is the only animal of its gender capable of manufacturing food in his body for his young. Parents will frequently set another clutch of eggs once their first has hatched, and thus will raise two sets of young at a time.

 

 

Once a squab is old enough, she will leave the nest to walk on the ground and learn to feed and drink water from her parents. Young pigeons lack the white skin saddle (cere) between the bill and forehead and emit a high "squeak" and so are easily distinguishable from the adults. When the Squeaker is about 28 days old she will find her wings and fly. When she has gained enough experience in the sky, her training can begin. She is taken only a mile or two away and then released. It's an easy flight back to the loft and she instinctively heads that way. After a few short distance releases, she will be taken farther and farther away to be released. She is always released with several other birds who already know the way. They might even be her own parents. After several weeks she will know the layout of the entire Palouse area!


A White Dove hen and her little squeaker.