People love to hate on pigeons for the way they foul up parked cars or flock to food scraps on the sidewalk. But with more than 300 species of wild pigeon found on Earth—many of them stunning—it’s past time the lowly pigeon gets its coo.
“Pigeons are biological marvels,” says Rosemary Mosco, author of A Pocket Guide to Pigeon Watching.
Interestingly, there’s no scientific difference between pigeons and the much more beloved doves. Both birds are members of the Columbidae family, and while the term ‘pigeon’ tends to be applied to larger species and ‘dove’ to smaller ones, Mosco notes in her illustrated field guide that there is actually no scientific or evolutionary distinction