Pigeons and Doves
The family Columbidae includes 19 species found in North America.
Pigeons and doves occur on all continents and many islands. Columbids have relatively small bills. The head is small. Plumage is soft, dense feathers with downy bases; wings and tail variable in shape and length. Pigeons and doves have a well-developed bi-lobed crop that produces "pigeon milk" composed of the sloughed, nutritious cells of the crop lining plus semi-digested food, for feeding the young.
Pigeons and doves mainly eat seeds, fruits, berries, flowers and tender leaves, but many species also take small invertebrates, such as snails and insects. All or most species ingest grit, salty earth and molluscan shell fragments; the grit is used in the gizzard to grind hard seeds and the grit provides minerals, thus consumption of grit and shells increases during the breeding season. Most pigeons drink by sucking or pumping without raising the head.
Most species build a shallow, rather flimsy nest of interwoven twigs, stems and other plant parts placed in a tree or bush; species that nest on the ground or on ledges usually build a nest, but sometimes lay on the bare substrate. The female does most of the nest-building; the male brings the materials. Most species lay 2 white or (rarely) buffy eggs; a few species lay 1, or rarely 3, eggs. Both sexes incubate, 14-18 days. The squabs grow rapidly and the smaller species can fly when about 2 weeks old; fledglings are fed by the male only or by both parents, until able to forage for themselves. Larger species develop more slowly. Most species reach maturity at 1 year of age.
Key West Quail-Dove
Pigeons- Patuxent Bird ID Center