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Providing evidence to improve practice

Action: Provide artificial nesting sites for pigeons Bird Conservation

Key messages

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Two replicated studies from the USA and the Netherlands found high use rates and high nesting success of pigeons and doves using artificial nests.


Supporting evidence from individual studies


A replicated study in 1945-6 in garden habitats in Ohio, USA (Calhoun 1948), found that 63% of 31 mourning dove Zenaida macroura (formerly Zenaidura macroura) nesting attempts in artificial nests were successful. It was not possible to compare this success with natural nests, because the author was not confident they had found all unsuccessful natural nests. Nests consisted of cones of black or green roofing paper 17.8 cm at the widest and 5.1 cm deep. This study also examines nest use by American robins Turdus migratorius, and the effect of different coloured nests in ‘Use differently-coloured artificial nests’.



A replicated study in 1988-2000 in Noord-Brabant, The Netherlands (Potters 2009), found that stock pigeons Columba oenas used nest boxes provided in mixed agricultural habitats, laying an average of 118 eggs laid/year with 52% hatching and 84% of chicks fledging (an average of 52 chicks/year). Boxes were 20 x 20 x 50 cm, with an 8 x 8 cm entrance hole and placed 3-5 m above the ground in trees, 20-30 m apart. Jackdaws Corvus monedula also used the nest boxes, but were removed from 1995 onwards.


Referenced papers

Please cite as:

Williams, D.R., Child, M.F., Dicks, L.V., Ockendon, N., Pople, R.G., Showler, D.A., Walsh, J.C., zu Ermgassen, E.K.H.J. & Sutherland, W.J. (2019) Bird Conservation. Pages 141-290 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, N. Ockendon, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2019. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.