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".
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
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.
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.
of our White Doves are banded with an ID band as a precaution
so they can be returned to their loft if found.
Homing Pigeon enters his loft.
of courting White Doves.
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.
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!
Dove hen and her little squeaker.