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Invasive vs. native: Pigeon

by DENNIS. L. CLAY
Herald Columnist | February 26, 2020 11:34 PM

Sometimes in the depth of sleep, my mind will wander through the previous day’s activities. More often than not, those activities will cause me a warm feeling, cuddling me into a deep and more peaceful sleep.

However, there are times when rehashing an event or words put to paper make me wakeup with a jolt. This is usually because of the realization something wasn’t quite correct or accurate in the previous day’s actions.

For example, yesterday a few of the Eastern Washington invasive species were listed. They were: Eurasian collared dove, English sparrow, Chinese or ring-neck pheasant, brown trout, Hungarian partridge and crayfish.

Well, it may not be true some of those species are actually invasive species. The ring-neck pheasant was introduced to North America in early 1881 followed by more bird introductions in 1882 and 1884 in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.

They grew in numbers in Washington and Oregon, becoming a popular game bird. Pheasants were so popular they were introduced in several other states.

The same goes for the Hungarian partridge. While before 1908, less than 8,000 partridges were imported, between 1908 and 1909 around 40,000 of the birds were transplanted in the United States. Today, the Hun is a popular game bird.

The question at this point is: If a popular game bird is introduced into the U.S., is it considered a welcome addition to the landscape?

Would the pheasant be considered an invasive species if it was a destructive bird? Would there be no limit and no season?

Rock dove or pigeon

The rock dove or pigeon is another prolific species which was introduced into our country. This species was introduced by colonists in the 1600s. Today, they have spread across the United States and inhabit cities and farming areas.

Pigeons are good to eat. No, a city pigeon would not find a way to my dinner plate. However, a farm pigeon is delicious. On the farm they are eating the food the mourning doves and pheasants eat, wheat and other grains.

My shotgun is in the Death Ram at least twice a year for a trip north with my buddy, Bill Green, from Ephrata. The Stratford Post Office is our meeting point, where we leave his vehicle, before heading to a friend’s farm.

After greetings, we unload the guns and head for the barn. The shooting is fast in the beginning, but slows over an hour or so. The farmer’s wife has a piece of pie for us after the shoot in appreciation of our work of thinning out the pigeon population.

Tomorrow: Another invasive species.