Curious bird

I saw a very interesting bird yesterday evening.  As I was out walking about, I spied a very large white bird on a high tree limb.  I drew closer and shot this.

This doesn’t give you a sense of the size of the bird.  It is much larger than any dove or pigeon I have ever seen.

Note that its leg is banded.

The wings are very long and it has black tail-feathers.

As I drew near, it didn’t seem inclined to fly off, suggesting to me that it was tired.

I think what we have here is some sort of homing or racing bird.  The size surprised me.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Pseudomodo says:


    You have yourself a King Pigeon. I used to keep pigeons when I was a kid. This breed is about 2-3 times the size of a normal sized pigeon.

    It is obviously a kept pigeon as noted by the banding. It probably IS tired or it simply is used to people coming near it as it probably resides in a pigeon coop in a nearby town.

    Yes they are HUGE!

  2. Pseudomodo says:

    BTW Father,

    This bird is probably NOT a ‘show’ bird but a utility breed. In other words bred for ‘squab’ (if you get what I mean).

    Maybe you can get find out where you can ‘acquire’ one for your saute pan!

  3. rosebudsal says:

    He’s certainly a pretty bird. Ah, no, not the saute pan as Psuedomodo suggests. Maybe he was trying to escape from that fate.

    While you’re finding birds in your trees, I’m finding Squirrels in my Olive tree.

    Maria S.

  4. pseudo: Very interesting!

  5. Mike Morrow says:

    But…squab-fated birds of this sort wouldn’t normally have reached flying stage. And why would such be banded? A minor mystery.

  6. John F. says:

    This type of King pigeon is also seen around the offices of MOHELA ( Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority) in Chesterfield, MO.

  7. sacerdos in germania says:

    I had Racing Pigeons(Homers) when I was a kid and we’d use these birds, Kings and a few other breeds, such as Fantails, or Tumblers as “droppers”. These would be released near the loft to attract(to drop) the flock of Racers back to the coop. These birds would be banded along with the Racers. Those pigeon fanciers who breed Kings would also band them for this reason…in case the bird gets lost, as is probably what happened to this guy.
    For squab…around three weeks to a month when it’s nice and tender. This bird is already too old and was probably destined to be a breeder, another reason for the band.

  8. Nick says:

    Perhaps it is a providential sign of good things to come, Father?

    Jesus, we trust in Thee!

  9. Brother Ass says:

    Well, this guy has been hanging around my office in downtown Mpls. What does that tell you about me?

  10. Tom says:

    A king? Interesting. My initial guess was a Giant Runt (sounds like an oxymoron but “Runt” is derived form a Latin word that doesn’t cannote diminutive stature.)

    And a banded utility bird is not as all odd as it may sound. Many breeds are shown but have had their initial traits bred out. E.g.: Most Tumblers no longer tumble, many Hifliers are lackluster performers and many Show Racer no longer home.

    Look how many breeds have very Catholic names!

  11. Sonja says:

    We had one of these banded pigeons once. It had a phone number on the band. Turned out to be a university project of some sort. They just needed the location and asked that we let it go again. Beautiful creatures.

  12. So the bird calmly watches you. Hmmmm. Is it carrying a little tiny video camera? Is this how some talking heads are getting their stories?

  13. PaulJason says:

    It could be one that they release for weddings, who got lost. I’ve had one show up on my back deck before. I called a lady up the street who brought her birds, she released her birds and the one from my deck followed them home.

  14. LarryD says:

    Wow! It’s a long lost extra from Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds ! Whatever you do, do NOT act like Tippi Hedren!

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