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This confirms that the pigeon was being bred in dedicated facilities over 2200 years ago.The Sicilian historian Diadorous, writing about the period circa 300 BC, also described a mud building with a reed thatched roof that was used to house domesticated pigeons, further confirming that organised domestication had been established in this period.Derivation: The word ‘pigeon’ is derived from the Latin word ‘pipio’, meaning ‘young cheeping bird’. Mention of pigeon sacrifices can also be found in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.The word ‘dove’ is of Norse origin and first appeared in the 14th century as ‘dova’ or ‘douve’. The pigeon is probably best known for its ability to return ‘home’ from long distances and has been used extensively by man for this purpose. Description (adult of the nominate subspecies of the rock pigeon): Diet: Seeds form the major component of the diet, but it varies greatly according to species. European population estimated at between 17 and 28 million birds.

Some ground feeding species (granivorous species) eat fruit and take insects and worms.

Latin Name: Columba livia (‘dove’ or ‘bird of leaden or blue-grey colour’). Although images of the pigeon have been found dating as far back as 3000 BC, it is not clear what role the pigeon played in these ancient civilisations and to what extent the bird was domesticated.

Common Names: Pigeon, dove, blue rock pigeon, rock dove, wild rock pigeon, rock pigeon, feral pigeon. Later, in 1100 BC, King Rameses III sacrificed 57,000 pigeons to the god Ammon at Thebes, confirming that the pigeon was well on the way to being domesticated not only for food but also for religious purposes.

Man has found many sporting uses for the pigeon throughout history, with the earliest known example being the sport of Triganieri.

It is unclear when this ancient sport first started, but the early Greeks and Romans are believed to have participated in it.

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In pre-history it is likely that rock doves lived alongside man in caves and on cliff faces.

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