Pigeon At one time, there were supposed to be more pigeons on earth than any other type of bird. Pioneers told stories of how millions of migrating pigeons would darken the sky for hours and the noise of their approach could be heard for miles. The weight of so many pigeons roosting together would break trees and branches throughout the forests. Although pigeons are still very common, their numbers have been greatly reduced. The passenger pigeon is extinct, but other varieties are very frequently seen in cities and rural areas through­out the world.
   Pigeons are about fifteen to eighteen inches long. doves are considered to be a smaller type of pigeon. Pigeon colors range from dull gray or brown to beautiful combinations of white, green, purple, orange, and magenta. Many have iridescent green and violet on their heads and necks.
   It is believed that pigeons mate for life. Several times a year, a few white eggs are laid in a carelessly-made nest. Young pigeons, or squabs, are fed a secretion of regurgitated food from their parent's crop. This is called "pigeon milk." Mature pigeons eat small nuts, seeds, and grain. They can be easily trained to come for food, as is demonstrated by the flocks of pigeons that surround popcorn and peanut machines.
   This bird is frequently raised as poultry and has long been used for racing and carrying messages. The homing pigeon is best suited for the latter activity. This is a type of pigeon developed through crossbreeding of several varieties to obtain a bird with speed and flight endurance.