Variability in Rock Dove Columba livia
The Rock Dove (aka Rock Pigeon, Common Pigeon, Feral Pigeon) shows an incredible amount of variability, following centuries of selective breeding by humans. Some of the plumages are nothing short of stunning.
When my brother and I were young we would purchase Fantail or Pouter eggs from pigeon fanciers and raise them under "regular" pigeons, often realizing quite substantial financial gain when we sold the progeny.
At Hillcrest Mall in Richmond Hill, ON there is always a flock of Rock Doves, frequently augmented by pigeons that have escaped from captivity and have joined their wild congeners.
We seem to have a transient and mercurial relationship with this species. Certainly we have used it to advantage in times of war, benefiting from its homing ability to deliver strategic messages. Though despised by some, it has captured a place in our hearts and is ubiquitous in major cities throughout the world. Everyone is familiar with scenes from iconic locations such as Trafalgar Square in London, where visitors pose for photographs, bedecked with pigeons.
Columba livia is a survivor and will remain a feature in our urban landscape for all time. At least I fervently hope so.