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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Band-tailed Pigeon -- Columba fasciata

RANGE: Breeds from southeastern Alaska and southwestern British Columbia south through the mountains of Washington, Oregon, California, and extreme western Nevada to Baja California; and from southern Nevada, Arizona, central Utah, north-central Colorado, New Mexico, and western Texas south to Honduras. Winters from central California, central Arizona, and western Texas south to Honduras.

STATUS: Locally common.

HABITAT: Along the Pacific Coast, inhabits a variety of forest lands with western hemlock, western redcedar, and Douglas-fir to ponderosa pine, white fir, or incense cedar. In Oregon and Washington, prefers forest land with a good interspersion of seral stages and openings; in California, prefers forests, woodlands, or chaparral with an abundance of oak. In the interior, occupies habitats ranging from montane oak woodlands to arid woodlands of pinyon pine and oaks, and from agricultural areas near forests to berry-producing areas at 11,000 feet elevation. Occasionally found in spruce-fir associations characterized by Engelmann spruce, subalpine fir, lodgepole pine, limber pine, and aspen, but prefers sites dominated by ponderosa pine and Gambel oak.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Mature conifers or broad leaved trees at least 8 feet tall for nesting and a source of mineral water or salt deposits in early fall and winter.

NEST: Nests in coniferous or deciduous trees usually located near a clearing and on a moderate to steep slope or precipice. Conceals nest on horizontal branches typically 15 to 40 feet high, rarely on the ground.

FOOD: Gleans sometimes exclusively on one species or source of food as long as the supply lasts. Mainly eats mast and berries, but also eats acorns, pine nuts, pinyon nuts, blossoms, green and ripe fruits, and some waste grains.

REFERENCES: Jeffrey 1977, Johnsgard 1975a, Neff 1947, Peeters 1962.

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