Saturday, August 27, 2005

The Controversy Continues

Much to tell--haven't posted in a while because life has become somewhat difficult, keeping me from getting out in the fields much, and from writing. Foolish to let that happen, because it is out there that I find peace and restoration. I'll get out this morning.

But first, there has been much distribution of A Single Banded Foot now, thanks to Terry Sprague, and I am hoping that soon an answer will come. Pheasant was in the lead for a while--pigeon has caught up and may be passing. I have begun to enquire of breeders of both who must at least know the feet of their own birds--haven't got a response yet from the he pheasant breeder. It's hard to phrase the question in a "cold" e-mail without sounding like very weird spam. And then my first attempt to e-mail a pigeon fancier failed--e-mail address on the 'net was no longer functional. Will try another.

But I have been informed that the bands on the foot are not those generally used on racing pigeons--so if it was someone's pigeon, it was probably a fancy (decorative?) breed, not a racer.

Here it is again:

The rule is marked in centimetres and the middle toe, without the nail, is 3 centimetres long.

"Pigeon" came up in the comments to the original post, it was also suggested by Chris Grooms, formerly of the Loggerhead Shrike Project (it was Chris who confirmed the loggerhead shrike as a breeder in my atlassing square), and by some in communication with Terry. We don't have too many pigeons around Thomasburg--not enough barns in the immediate vicinity, and these birds, though very well-established exotics (domestics, whatever), don't like to stray too far from human habitation, which in the countryside they seem to associate with barns (and bridges), not houses or sheds. Toronto is full of pigeons, and very few barns...

I was in Belleville (small city on Lake Ontario, about 25 kilometres south of Thomasburg) the other day, eating lunch by the river and watching the Canada geese, ring-billed gulls, crows, grazing in the riverside park when I saw that there were a couple of pigeons in the mix. But I couldn't think of how to get a hold of one to measure its middle toe.


Anonymous said...

Are you near a museum or university with a skin collection. Any moderate sized one would have both pheasant and pigeon, and a simple comparison should hold the key.

tony g

Pamela Martin said...

Good suggestion! I am about halfway between two such institutions, the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto and the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa. But not close enough to pop over to either, at least not right now. But I will try a request for help.