Rock Pigeon, Columba livia
Rock Pigeon, 9/25/05, Palo Alto Baylands
Yep, they're pigeons, the kind you toss breadcrumbs to in the park or in Piazza San Marco. The official English-language name used to be "Rock Dove" --as in, "that's no pigeon -- that's a Rock Dove!" The birding bureaucracy has now directed us to call it a pigeon after all, but we must add the prefix "Rock" to make clear that we are scientifically-minded birders, not associated with the pigeon-feeding hordes. Our domestic pigeons in fact derive from a European wild dove species. The top and bottom birds are pretty close to the original, while the middle one has been bred much further away.
Rock Pigeon, adult, 7/17/04, Palo Alto Baylands Park
Rock Pigeon, 1/8/04, Roberts Lake, Seaside, Monterey Co