The pigeon family

Earlier this week we talked about the role museums play in bringing back extinct species, like the Passenger Pigeon. But how did the Passenger Pigeon get to be part of the pigeon family?

The word pigeon tends to evoke a vision of a motley looking gray-brown plump bird bobbing around a feeder. And while some pigeons can be rather dull looking by exploring the tetrapod collection’s trays of Columbidae, the family for pigeons, you will see that some species are brightly colored, some are big or small, and some have unique feather patterns. Look for why all these different species are put in the same family. Keep an eye out for bill size and shape, which helps define the diet of a species. Examine the overall body shape of the pigeons, this can inform you how they nest, fly or move on the ground. Last, inspect the feet of the pigeons, feet can inform you about diet and movement of a species.

Comment below if you find other characteristics that these specimens have in common and allow us to place them in the same family!

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About the author: Stephanie Malinich is the collection manager of the OSU tetrapods at the Museum of Biological Diversity.