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on Jul 15, 2013 in Landscape Photography

The Flying Vacuum Cleaners


No, that’s not a translation of their Latin name, but it might as well be as far as we’re concerned. This is a Band-tailed Pigeon and in most regions of the country, it’s a hunted species (and I’m told tasty). Ever since our first fall in the Sierra, we’ve had this very wary species at our feeders. That is for about ten minutes which is about how much time it takes for them to suck them all dry. Now you know what we call them vacuum cleaners.


Prior to moving to the Sierra, we had seen the pigeons in other regions of the state, but never got close enough to get glass on them. I suspect that comes from the fact they are hunted. And even though they are coming to us (my preferred way of getting close to critters) and are here what seems like the hundreds (probably only 50), the slightest movement inside the office and it sounds like a Huey lifting off from the driveway. Though they’ve been sucking down our seed for nearly twenty years, I still have to stand way back in the depth of the office and shoot with the D4 / 800. Why go to all of this for a “pigeon?” Simply business actually, hunting magazines need photos of them and with them being so difficult to photograph nearly everywhere, they are money in the bank. Now I have a deal with them, they pose, they get to eat. No posing and we walk through our office and they fly off. And when you take a moment and look at them, they are a pretty cool bird.