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Patagioenas fasciata


  Peter LaTourrette/

Ulev, Elena D. 2006. Patagioenas fasciata. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [].


Columba fasciata (Say) [62,82]

band-tailed pigeon

Patagioenas fasciata (Say) is the scientific name for the band-tailed pigeon, a member of the Columbidae family [2,46]. Eight subspecies are currently recognized in the United States, Mexico, and South America [1,46], although taxonomic revision is recommended [46]:

Patagioenas fasciata albilinea (Bonaparte)
Patagioenas fasciata crissalis (Salvadori)
Patagioenas fasciata fasciata (Say), interior band-tailed pigeon
Patagioenas fasciata letonai (Dickey and Van Rossem)
Patagioenas fasciata monilis (Vigors), Pacific band-tailed pigeon
Patagioenas fasciata parva (Griscom)
Patagioenas fasciata roraimae (Chapman)
Patagioenas fasciata vioscae (Brewster)



No special status

Information on state-level protected status of animals in the United States is available at NatureServe, although recent changes in status may not be included.


SPECIES: Patagioenas fasciata
Of the 8 subspecies of band-tailed pigeon, only 2 native subspecies are recognized north of Mexico [1,15,43]. They are the Pacific band-tailed pigeon (Patagioenas fasciata monilis) and the interior band-tailed pigeon (P. f. fasciata). They are mutually exclusive races, breeding in areas that do not overlap [15,77]. Bird Web provides a distributional map of band-tailed pigeon, as well as photos.

The breeding range of the Pacific band-tailed pigeon occurs from southwestern British Columbia; south along the western side of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Range to Baja California Norte, Mexico [1,11,19,46,64,85], and extreme western Nevada [19,52]. Pacific band-tailed pigeons may be either residents or migrants [85]. Pacific band-tailed pigeons in the northern portion of their range are strongly migratory [85], although resident populations have been reported in Seattle, Washington [64] and Portland, Oregon [85]. Wintering grounds are from San Francisco, California [53,64,85], south to Ensenada, Baja California Norte [15,64]. Fall migration routes to wintering grounds follow coastal mountain ranges and 2 migration corridors southward [11,84,85]. One route follows the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada, and the 2nd route is along the Coast Ranges. Both routes converge in the Transverse Range in Ventura County, California, and continue to southern California and Baja California Norte [84,85].

The breeding range of the interior band-tailed pigeon occurs east of the Sierra Nevada [85] in the Rocky Mountains of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah [1,15,32,33,43]. Some populations occur in southern Nevada, Wyoming, and western Texas [15]. Wintering grounds extend from the Mexican states of Sonora and Chihuahua south along the crest of the Sierra Madre Occidental to Michoacan, Mexico [15,46]. Fall migration routes to wintering grounds follow 2 major routes. One route is from south central Colorado southwest across New Mexico to extreme southwestern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona. The 2nd route is from central and western Colorado to east-central Arizona, where a route from Utah converges, then south along the New Mexico and Arizona boundary. Northward migration probably takes place along the same routes [15].

The following lists are speculative and are based on the habitat characteristics and species composition of communities band-tailed pigeons are known to occupy. There is not conclusive evidence that band-tailed pigeons occur in all the habitat types listed, and some community types, especially those used rarely, may have been omitted. See Preferred Habitat for more detail.

FRES19 Aspen-birch
FRES20 Douglas-fir
FRES21 Ponderosa pine
FRES22 Western white pine
FRES23 Fir-spruce
FRES24 Hemlock-Sitka spruce
FRES25 Larch
FRES26 Lodgepole pine
FRES27 Redwood
FRES28 Western hardwoods
FRES29 Sagebrush
FRES30 Desert shrub
FRES32 Texas savanna
FRES33 Southwestern shrubsteppe
FRES34 Chaparral-mountain shrub
FRES35 Pinyon-juniper
FRES40 Desert grasslands

STATES/PROVINCES: (key to state/province abbreviations)



B.C.N. Chih. Coah. Col. Dgo. Jal. Mich. Nay. Sin. Son.

1 Northern Pacific Border
3 Southern Pacific Border
4 Sierra Mountains
6 Upper Basin and Range
7 Lower Basin and Range
11 Southern Rocky Mountains
12 Colorado Plateau
13 Rocky Mountain Piedmont

K001 Spruce-cedar-hemlock forest
K002 Cedar-hemlock-Douglas-fir forest
K004 Fir-hemlock forest
K005 Mixed conifer forest
K006 Redwood forest
K007 Red fir forest
K008 Lodgepole pine-subalpine forest
K010 Ponderosa shrub forest
K011 Western ponderosa forest
K012 Douglas-fir forest
K014 Grand fir-Douglas-fir forest
K015 Western spruce-fir forest
K018 Pine-Douglas-fir forest
K019 Arizona pine forest
K020 Spruce-fir-Douglas-fir forest
K021 Southwestern spruce-fir forest
K023 Juniper-pinyon woodland
K024 Juniper steppe woodland
K026 Oregon oakwoods
K029 California mixed evergreen forest
K030 California oakwoods
K031 Oak-juniper woodland
K033 Chaparral

16 Aspen
110 Black oak
206 Engelmann spruce-subalpine fir
207 Red fir
210 Interior Douglas-fir
211 White fir
213 Grand fir
217 Aspen
218 Lodgepole pine
219 Limber pine
221 Red alder
222 Black cottonwood-willow
223 Sitka spruce
224 Western hemlock
225 Western hemlock-Sitka spruce
226 Coastal true fir-hemlock
227 Western redcedar-western hemlock
228 Western redcedar
229 Pacific Douglas-fir
230 Douglas-fir-western hemlock
232 Redwood
233 Oregon white oak
234 Douglas-fir-tanoak-Pacific madrone
235 Cottonwood-willow
237 Interior ponderosa pine
238 Western juniper
239 Pinyon-juniper
241 Western live oak
243 Sierra Nevada mixed conifer
244 Pacific ponderosa pine-Douglas-fir
245 Pacific ponderosa pine
246 California black oak
247 Jeffrey pine
249 Canyon live oak
255 California coast live oak

109 Ponderosa pine shrubland
110 Ponderosa pine-grassland
202 Coast live oak woodland
203 Riparian woodland
204 North coastal shrub
205 Coastal sage shrub
206 Chamise chaparral
207 Scrub oak mixed chaparral
208 Ceanothus mixed chaparral
209 Montane shrubland
411 Aspen woodland
412 Juniper-pinyon woodland
413 Gambel oak
414 Salt desert shrub
415 Curlleaf mountain-mahogany
419 Bittercherry
503 Arizona chaparral
504 Juniper-pinyon pine woodland

Pacific band-tailed pigeons are associated with the giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) community along the western slope of the Sierra Nevada in California [47,56].

During winter, Pacific band-tailed pigeons used a floodplain riparian woodland dominated by willow (Salix spp.), California black walnut (Juglans californica), boxelder (Acer negundo), Oregon ash (Fraxinus latifolia), white alder (Alnus rhombifolia), and Fremont cottonwood (Populus fremontii) in Dog Island City Park in Red Bluff, California [51].

Common fruiting shrubs and trees in Pacific band-tailed pigeon habitat in the Pacific Coast region are cascara (Rhamnus purshiana), huckleberry (Vaccinium spp.), cherry (Prunus spp.), elderberry (Sambucus spp.), and Pacific madrone (Arbutus menziesii) [46].


SPECIES: Patagioenas fasciata

Migration: The arrival of Pacific band-tailed pigeons onto their breeding grounds occurs from March to June and peaks in April and June [11,26,84,85]. Fall migration into southern California and Mexico occurs from early August to mid-October and peaks in September [11,64,85], depending on weather conditions and food availability [11,64,85]. Migrating flocks of Pacific band-tailed pigeons in Arcata, California, were composed of 12 to 35 birds, and occasionally up to 200 birds [40].

Interior band-tailed pigeons arrive on their breeding grounds from late March to early May, peaking in late April. Fall migration to Mexico peaks in mid-September for populations in Colorado and Utah, and in mid-October for populations in Arizona and New Mexico [15].

Interior band-tailed pigeons display fidelity to the same general breeding areas each year. Of 2,314 interior band-tailed pigeons banded in central and western Colorado from 1969 to 1981, 92% returned to within 31 miles (50 km) of their previous breeding areas [77].

Mating: Band-tailed pigeons are monogamous [46] and pair bonds may last a lifetime [18]. Pacific and interior band-tailed pigeons breed from May to September [14,33,52], but because they are opportunistic [32], the breeding season may be extended or delayed, based on environmental conditions such as large masts of berries or other crops or favorable weather [32,43,54]. The breeding season of band-tailed pigeons is also dependent upon photoperiod length. The testes of captive Pacific band-tailed pigeons held in outdoor aviaries regressed with decreasing day length from September until December. After December, testes size began to increase again until March, when full breeding capability was reached. Female band-tailed pigeons kept in aviaries with males experienced no ovarian follicle growth until March [32,33].

Nesting: In California, nesting of Pacific band-tailed pigeons occurs from February until October [53,61], peaking from May to July [26,53,61]. Interior band-tailed pigeons nest from May to September [14].

Nests are composed of a loose platform of sticks [26,46,53,61,64] and forest litter [26] and are usually built on a strong horizontal branch of a tree or shrub [26,46,52,53]. Nest measurements for a Pacific band-tailed pigeon taken in Humboldt County, California, were: outside diameter, 7.8 inches (19.8 cm); inside diameter, 5.0 inches (12.7 cm); bowl depth, 1.3 inches (3.3 cm); and thickness under the bowl, 2.1 inches ( 5.3 cm) [26].

In the Oregon Coast Ranges, the mean height from the ground of 138 nests was 33.8 feet (10.3 m) in conifers, 33.5 feet (10.2 m) in deciduous trees and 14.4 feet (4.4 m) in shrubs [52]. Of 26 nests observed in shrubs and trees in Monterey County, California, nest height from the ground ranged from 12 to 95 feet (4-29 m), with an average height of 36 feet (11 m) [53]. Nesting may be semicolonial [64,83], with up to 17 nests in a single tree [64].

The band-tailed pigeon has the lowest breeding potential of any game bird in the United States [40,52,53]. Clutch size is typically 1 egg [32,33,40,46,52,53,64], but 2-egg [32,33,53,64] and 3-egg clutches have been reported. Of 219 interior and Pacific band-tailed pigeon clutches examined, 85% to 95% contained 1 egg [32,33,40,46,52,53,64]. Band-tailed pigeons typically nest once a year [40], but may complete up to 3 nest cycles per year during favorable weather conditions [32,33,46]. Of 134 radio-marked adult Pacific band-tailed pigeons, 60% initiated 2 to 3 nests during 1 breeding season, and 15% of all nesting birds produced 3 fledglings. Pacific band-tailed pigeons eliminated nesting intervals by overlapping nesting cycles (caring for 2 sets of offspring at different developmental stages) 78% of the time. This allowed for raising 3 broods in a 150-day nesting season. In western Oregon, the mean number of Pacific band-tailed pigeon nests initiated per year was 1.69/adult (n=137). Fifty-four percent initiated >2 nests/year and 10% produced 3 successful nests/year [52].

Incubation lasts 18 to 21 days [46,53,61,64]. Adult male and female band-tailed pigeons share brooding responsibilities of incubation and feeding [53,64,65]. Both parents incubate continuously, with males attending nests from mid-morning until mid-afternoon and females taking over from late afternoon to the following morning [53,61,64]. Young are altricial [64] and are fed "crop milk" produced in the crop of both parents [43,46,53,61] for the first few days after hatching, followed by a mixture of crop milk and regurgitated food [46].

Fledging: Juvenile band-tailed pigeons fledge between 20 and 28 days after hatching [53,61,64,65]. Fledging of Pacific band-tailed pigeons in western Oregon peaks in late August and early September [43].

Of 299 banded immature female interior band-tailed pigeons in Colorado, the mean dispersal distance from the nest to the recapture site the following year was 22.8 miles (36.7 km) (range 19.1 to 26.5 miles (30.7-42.7 km)). Of 298 males, dispersal distance from the nest was 16.2 miles (26.0 km) (range 13.1 to 19.2 miles (21.1-30.9 km)) [77].

Survival: Of 1,008 banded adult Pacific band-tailed pigeons recovered between 1965 and 1972, mean annual survival ranged from 44.5% to 85.3% and averaged 63.7% (95% confidence interval=7.6%) [43]. Mean annual survival rates for adult Pacific band-tailed pigeons were as follows:

State Years Mean annual survival rate (%) n
California [84] 1952 to 1965 61.1 126
Oregon [94] 1952 to 1965 70.9 262
Washington [84] 1950 to 1965 62.2 128

Home range: The breeding home range of 70 radio-marked adult Pacific band-tailed pigeons on the Oregon Coast Ranges was 27,480 acres (± 60,040 acres (11,121 ha ± 24,298 ha)) (range 776-446,800 acres (314-180,800 ha)) [52]; however, the breeding home range in this geographic location may be less than 27,180 acres (11,000 ha) due to high mobility of band-tailed pigeons, as well as the limited range of variability in the distribution of habitats needed, and the high quality of habitat [74].

Pacific band-tailed pigeons are highly mobile during the breeding season, traveling an average of 3.1 miles (5.0 km) (s=4.6 miles (7.4 km)) to feeding areas [52]. Nesting territories of interior band-tailed pigeons in Humboldt County, California, ranged from a 0.10 mile (0.16 km) radius to a 0.50 mile (0.80 km) radius from the nest with a mean territorial radius of approximately 0.25 mile (0.40 km). Variability of territory size was attributable to irregularity of the terrain, proximity to a water source, and the abundance of forest cover [26].

Population trends: As of 2006, population monitoring techniques for the band-tailed pigeon needed further development for better accuracy [46,52,84,85]. In the western United States and Canada, band-tailed pigeon populations have experienced a significant (P<0.10) negative trend of -3.5% total, according to Breeding Bird Surveys conducted from 1968 to 1991 [39]. The population index of band-tailed pigeons in the late 1980's was only 30% to 50% of that in the 1960s [43].

The population index of Pacific band-tailed pigeons indicated an average rate of increase of +2.4% per year from 1950 to the early 1960s, a downward trend of -10.4% per year from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s, an increase of +7.1% per year from the mid-1970s to the early 1980s, and another decrease of -11.1% per year from the mid- to late 1980s [43].

Essential habitat elements for the band-tailed pigeon are trees and mast, especially acorns [83]. Pacific band-tailed pigeons prefer foothill woodlands [11] and montane forests [11], chaparral with an abundance of oak (Quercus spp.), and occasionally subalpine forests [11,33].

Interior band-tailed pigeons prefer habitat dominated by Gambel oak (Q. gambelii) and ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa). Of 825 observations of interior band-tailed pigeons in Colorado, 88% inhabited elevations from 5,000 to 9,000 feet (1,524 - 2,743 m) [14,15].

Nesting habitat: Band-tailed pigeons prefer habitat close to water [26], dense shrubs or trees [52,74], and steep, mountainous terrain for nesting [52].

Pacific band-tailed pigeons nest primarily in coniferous forests [52]. At least 44 tree species may be used in the Pacific Coast Ranges [46]. Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), Monterey pine (Pinus radiata) [52,53], and acacia (Acacia spp.) are used most frequently. Nests may be built in open- or closed-canopy stands, and trees range from sapling-pole to old growth. On the Oregon Coast Range, 69% of 138 nests were built in a closed-canopy forest, and pole-sized trees were used 55% of the time [53]. In the western half of Oregon's Willamette Valley and on the Coast Ranges, Pacific band-tailed pigeons nested primarily in Douglas-fir trees within a closed-canopy (>70%) coniferous or mixed conifer-broadleaf forest [52].

Interior band-tailed pigeons in Colorado prefer to nest in forests dominated by ponderosa pine, Engelmann spruce (Picea engelmannii), Douglas-fir, lodgepole pine (P. contorta), and limber pine (P. flexilis) [14].

Foraging habitat: Sixty-four percent of 25 Pacific band-tailed pigeon feeding sites in the Oregon Coast Ranges were associated with moist bottomlands and creeks with open or sparse canopied forest (clearcuts, young stands, or large gaps). Eighty-four percent contained a food source <30 feet (9 m) in height. Pacific band-tailed pigeons traveled a mean distance of 3.1 miles (5.0 km) (range 0.2-32.1 miles (0.3-51.6 km)) to feeding sites and 5.2 miles (8.4 km)(range 2.2-8.7 miles (3.5-14.0 km)) to mineral sites from nests [52].

Major feeding sites for interior band-tailed pigeons occur in montane coniferous forest dominated by ponderosa pine and Gambel oak, evergreen woodlands, and interior chaparral where mast is available. Cultivated fields are also used [15].

Wintering area: Preliminary data indicate that interior band-tailed pigeons wintering in Mexico prefer oak-pine woodlands, oak woodlands, and montane conifer forests from fall to mid-winter. They also use subtropical Sinoloan deciduous forest, and thornscrub communities [14].

Stand age: Pacific band-tailed pigeons utilize early and late successional stages. Early successional stages in redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) forests of Humboldt County, California, provided more food for the Pacific band-tailed pigeon than climax forests due to the large amount of fruiting shrubs [40]. In northwestern California, Pacific band-tailed pigeons were present in a virgin Douglas-fir forest and in a 3- to 7-year old brush-stage clearcut [34].

Preferred roosting, resting, and nesting summer cover for Pacific band-tailed pigeons in Humboldt County, California, were 20- to 60-year old Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) groves and alder (Alnus spp.) thickets along watersheds [26].

Stand composition/structure: Band-tailed pigeons avoid ecotone edges [39,72]. Of 25 band-tailed pigeons detected in Douglas-fir study plots within the Six Rivers, Klamath, and Shasta-Trinity National Forests, California, none were found on plot edges [72].

Snags are favored by band-tailed pigeons for perching [26,78].

Food plays a major role in band-tailed pigeon ecology. It influences distribution [64] and the initiation and duration of the nesting season [43,64]. Band-tailed pigeons are highly mobile [46,52,85] and locate food easily [85]. More than 98% of the band-tailed pigeon diet is vegetarian [46]. Band-tailed pigeons feed on more than 97 plant species, and food choices change seasonally [46]; however, feeding is usually restricted to 1 abundant food item even when other foods are available [46,85].

Across the band-tailed pigeon's range, acorns are a staple food year-round [83]. Principal foods eaten by band-tailed pigeons during spring and early summer [46] are field grains (Poaceae) [46,63,65] and tree buds [46]. During summer [43,46], fruits such as wild and cultivated cherry [14,46,57,63], blackberry, raspberry (Rubus spp.) and elderberry [14,57,61,63] are eaten. During autumn and winter [46], acorns [12,24,46,55,57,61,63,85,86] and leaves [61] are the main foods consumed. The interior band-tailed pigeon also consumes Mexican pinyon (Pinus cembroides) seeds [64]. Band-tailed pigeons require a steady source of fresh water [83,85] and grit or gravel for grinding food [75,85]. Salt water [40,85], and dietary minerals [43,46,52,54,66,74,75] are sometimes used (see Mineral sites).

While nesting, Pacific band-tailed pigeons in western Oregon feed almost exclusively on red elderberry (Sambucus racemosa var. arborescens), blue elderberry (S. nigra ssp. cerulea) and cascara (Rhamnus purshiana) [43,54]. Principal foods eaten during fall migration of Pacific band-tailed pigeons in Humboldt County, California, include California black oak (Q. kelloggii) and Oregon white oak (Q. garryana) acorns [40].

Mineral sites: The band-tailed pigeon uses mineral sites [43,46,66,75]; however, the use is not a universal trait among band-tailed pigeons [43], and the availability of mineral sites is not a limiting factor in the population size of Pacific band-tailed pigeons [74]. Mineral site use is uncommon for interior band-tailed pigeons in Colorado [14]. Mineral sites are used primarily during the nesting season [43,53,54,66] and may be used in response to social stimuli [43].

Mineral sources may be natural or man-made. In western Oregon, mineral sites are often naturally occurring and may be dry or wet. Dry sites include landslides or livestock salt blocks. Wet sites include saltwater bays and estuaries, mineralized springs, abandoned artesian salt wells, or waste water from pulp mills [75].

Important components of mineral sites used by band-tailed pigeons include the presence of specific minerals, adequate perch sites, a tradition of congregation at a particular site, and the amount of human activity and development [75]. Mineral sites and estuaries used by Pacific band-tailed pigeons on the Oregon coast contained a series of coniferous perch sites within 984.0 feet (299.9 m) [74]. In western Oregon, the average distance for all nests (n=138) to the nearest mineral site ranged from 1.2 to 13.2 miles (2.0-21.3 km) and averaged 6.2 miles (10.0 km) (s=4.57) [52].

The consumption of minerals at mineral sites was previously thought to supplement the low sodium and calcium content of blue elderberry, red elderberry, and cascara, which are heavily depended on by Pacific band-tailed pigeons in western Oregon during the breeding season [43,54]. Sanders [74] found that mineral sites provide an inconsistent source of calcium and are not as important during the breeding season as previously thought.

Band-tailed pigeon predators include western scrub jay (Aphelocoma californica) [53], Cooper's hawk (Accipiter cooperii) [43,46], sharp-shinned hawk (A. striatus) [46], northern goshawk (A. gentilis) [55,70], common raven (Corvus corax), prairie falcon (Falco mexicanus), peregrine falcon (F. peregrinus), great horned owl (Bubo virginianus), and tree squirrels (Tamiasciurus and Sciurus spp.) [46]. <

BEHAVIOR: Band-tailed pigeons are gregarious throughout the year and travel in flocks [40,46,86] except during the nesting season, but even then, congregation occurs at mineral sites [40].

Band-tailed pigeon populations have been declining for several decades [39,63,69,79,83] (see Population trends). Causes for decline are conjectural, but are suspected to be due to habitat loss and/or degradation, inadequate recruitment, overharvest due to hunting, and/or disease [52].

Currently, a need for a regional, landscape-based approach to the management of band-tailed pigeons is needed to assure an adequate network of suitable habitats [52]. Population inventories on the band-tailed pigeon are difficult to perform due to erratic migration [85]. Keppie and Braun [46] stress the importance of implementing reliable survey methods to monitor the population size of band-tailed pigeons over large geographic areas. The impact of hunting needs to be examined, as well as monitoring of disease outbreaks, changes of food availability in relation to forest management, and long-term changes of winter and year-round areas used by the band-tailed pigeon [46]. An annual postbreeding season census in known nesting and fall assemblage areas needs to be established to determine annual production. Silovsky [84] suggests establishing a program to band Pacific band-tailed pigeons during July and August to determine differences in mortality, vulnerability, and migration by age and sex classes.

Pacific band-tailed pigeon populations have been declining at a rate of -5.7%/year in California. Band-tailed pigeons are a focal species of California Partners in Flight in oak woodlands, requiring special attention in a multispecies conservation effort. Causes of decline in the Sierra Nevada are difficult to assess, but may be due to a decreasing winter food supply of acorns caused by drought, natural attrition, and poor oak productivity. Because band-tailed pigeons may breed semicolonially [64,83], decreasing populations may stimulate decreasing impetus to breed. Hunting pressure may present a minor risk to the band-tailed pigeon [83]. For additional information about the California Partners in Flight bird conservation plans in oak woodlands and in the Sierra Nevada, see the California Partners in Flight Bird Conservation Plan.

Hunting: As of 2006, California, Oregon, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and Mexico had band-tailed pigeon hunting seasons [46]. Occasional band-tailed pigeon food shortages in California have caused large numbers of birds to concentrate in restricted areas, which could lead to over-hunting. Opinions concerning the effects of hunting band-tailed pigeons differ. Houston [40] suggests that very flexible hunting regulations are necessary, as well as routine checking of hunters' bags for sex and age ratios of band-tailed pigeons [26]. Keeley [46] indicates that in California, a combination of a high life expectancy of 22 years and low hunting mortality have little effect on band-tailed pigeon populations; however, this is speculative [46].

Silviculture: Little is known about the distribution of the Pacific band-tailed pigeon and the availability of habitat in the Pacific Northwest; however, current forestry practices may potentially cause substantial impact to the Pacific band-tailed pigeon [76]. Logging operations increase cover and successional development of food-producing shrubs such as cascara, red elderberry, and blue elderberry from early [26] to intermediate [74] successional stages; however, these plants are considered undesirable during intensive reforestation and are typically suppressed [35]. Forest managers might consider retaining some fruit-producing shrubs for Pacific band-tailed pigeons [74].

Management recommendations made by Glover [26] for Pacific band-tailed pigeons in Humboldt County, California, include maintaining existing cover and water resources in known nesting areas, leaving forest strips along riparian corridors, and preserving and maintaining Sitka spruce groves for nesting, resting, roosting, and escape cover.

Snags are used by band-tailed pigeons for perching [26,78] and may be important to retain.

Mineral sites: Regulation of forest management activities is suggested around mineral sites [52,75]. Mineral sites are a scarce resource in the northwestern United States. Pacific band-tailed pigeons are very sensitive to the distribution and disturbance of trees surrounding mineral sites [43,54]. Changes in the vegetation structure around mineral sites may reduce their usefulness to Pacific band-tailed pigeons [74] (see Mineral sites).

Agriculture: Most cultivated crop damage by Pacific band-tailed pigeons in California occurs in late winter, spring, and early summer. Band-tailed pigeons do not dig, scratch, or pull out sprouted grain, as previously suspected [85], but eat grain spilled on top of the ground as a result of planting operations [40,85].


SPECIES: Patagioenas fasciata
As of 2006, no research directly investigated band-tailed pigeon mortality due to fire. The direct impact of fire on birds is a function of the bird's size and mobility as well as the characteristics of the fire. Fire may kill band-tailed pigeons [67], but mortality is generally minor for adult birds of most species [73]. If fires occur during the breeding season, mortality of nestlings or fledglings is possible, so adult birds may experience reduced reproduction rates [67].

Following fire, modifications in the food supply and habitat of band-tailed pigeons may occur, as well as changes in the abundance of competitors and predators [73]. According to Finch and others [21], the effects of fire on birds and their habitat vary with: 1) the severity and extent of the fire; 2) temporal scales; 3) life history characteristics of the bird species; and 4) whether or not salvage logging occurs following fire. Severe fires alter the forest structure more than low-severity fires, and a stand-replacing fire may result in the replacement of a bird species with a different bird species. Large, severe fires may greatly alter bird habitat in the short term but may be necessary for long-term maintenance of some forest types [42]. Fire may be beneficial to grain-collecting birds such as the band-tailed pigeon due to increased nesting habitat and food supplies [10,13,16,37,39,42,87,92]. Salvage logging may reduce the benefits of fire to birds, including the band-tailed pigeon, that utilize snags for perching [42].

Very little information is available on the effects of fire on the band-tailed tailed pigeon.

Of several developmental stages studied following severe wildfires in a western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla)/Douglas-fir forest in Olympic National Park, Washington, band-tailed pigeons bred only in a 110-year postfire stage. Study areas included a stand-initiation stage (postfire years 1 to 3 and 19), a stem exclusion stage 110 postfire years, an understory reinitiation stage (postfire year 181), and an old-growth stage (515 postfire years). The 110-year postfire forest, where band-tailed pigeons were found breeding, consisted of a dense stand of relatively uniform-sized trees, numerous but small snags, and a lack of vertical tree structure, characterized as a 1-layered canopy [41].

Wildfires in Humboldt County, California, may diminish suitable habitat for band-tailed pigeons in the short term; however, an abundance of food producing plants consumed by the band-tailed pigeon becomes available 2 to 5 years later [26].

Research offers no information on band-tailed pigeon's response to fire in habitats preferred by the species, but limited information is available on the Pacific band-tailed pigeon's frequency in burned fir forests (not preferred habitat) in Yosemite National Park, California. One and two years after an October prescribed burn in white fir (Abies concolor)-mixed-conifer forest, 1% of Pacific band-tailed pigeons were found in burned areas during the breeding period, and no Pacific band-tailed pigeons were found in unburned areas. One year after a June wildfire in red fir (Abies magnifica), 1% of Pacific band-tailed pigeons occurred in burned areas and none in unburned areas; none were found during the breeding period in the 2nd postfire year. The same study indicated that Pacific band-tailed pigeons were slightly more frequent in fir habitat during the late-breeding and post-breeding periods (5-11% relative frequency in unburned habitat, 3-5% in prescribed burned habitat, and 0-4% in habitat burned by wildfire). The results were not statistically significant (P>0.05) [28].

The following table provides fire return intervals for plant communities and ecosystems where the band-tailed pigeon is important. Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under "Find Fire Regimes".

Community or Ecosystem Dominant Species Fire Return Interval Range (years)
silver fir-Douglas-fir Abies amabilis-Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii >200
grand fir Abies grandis 35-200 [3]
California chaparral Adenostoma and/or Arctostaphylos spp. <35 to <100
desert grasslands Bouteloua eriopoda and/or Pleuraphis mutica <35 to <100
California montane chaparral Ceanothus and/or Arctostaphylos spp. 50-100
juniper-oak savanna Juniperus ashei-Quercus virginiana <35
western juniper Juniperus occidentalis 20-70 [68]
Engelmann spruce-subalpine fir Picea engelmannii-Abies lasiocarpa 35 to >200 [3]
pinyon-juniper Pinus-Juniperus spp. <35 [68]
Mexican pinyon Pinus cembroides 20-70 [59,90]
Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine* Pinus contorta var. latifolia 25-340 [7,8,91]
Sierra lodgepole pine* Pinus contorta var. murrayana 35-200 [3]
Colorado pinyon Pinus edulis 10-400+ [23,27,45,68]
Jeffrey pine Pinus jeffreyi 5-30
Pacific ponderosa pine* Pinus ponderosa var. ponderosa 1-47 [3]
interior ponderosa pine* Pinus ponderosa var. scopulorum 2-30 [3,6,50]
Arizona pine Pinus ponderosa var. arizonica 2-15 [6,17,80]
quaking aspen (west of the Great Plains) Populus tremuloides 7-120 [3,30,58]
Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir* Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca 25-100 [3,4,5]
coastal Douglas-fir* Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii 40-240 [3,60,71]
California mixed evergreen Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii-Lithocarpus densiflorus-Arbutus menziesii <35
California oakwoods Quercus spp. <35 [3]
oak-juniper woodland (Southwest) Quercus-Juniperus spp. <35 to <200 [68]
coast live oak Quercus agrifolia 2-75 [29]
canyon live oak Quercus chrysolepis <35 to 200
Oregon white oak Quercus garryana <35 [3]
California black oak Quercus kelloggii 5-30 [68]
interior live oak Quercus wislizenii <35 [3]
redwood Sequoia sempervirens 5-200 [3,22,88]
western redcedar-western hemlock Thuja plicata-Tsuga heterophylla >200
western hemlock-Sitka spruce Tsuga heterophylla-Picea sitchensis >200 [3]
*fire return interval varies widely; trends in variation are noted in the species review

Very few studies have examined the effects of wildfire or prescribed burning on the band-tailed pigeon, and more data are needed to make management recommendations. The limited data currently available suggest that during the breeding season, band-tailed pigeons may use prescribed burned white fir habitats 1 and 2 years following fire. Band-tailed pigeon populations may increase several years following fire due to increased shrub density, which provides an important food source [26,40,74]. In general, band-tailed pigeons appear to be adaptable to habitat disturbance and/or alteration [52]. Survival following fire may be possible for the band-tailed pigeon due to high mobility [46,52,74,85], the ability to locate food easily [85], and large home ranges [52,74]. Band-tailed pigeons provide a mechanism of seed dispersal, colonization, and gene flow for plant species following disturbances such as fire due to their diverse diet, mobility, and ability to pass seeds intact [52], which may be important for habitat recovery following fire.

Oak species, including Gambel oak, Oregon white oak, and California black oak, are particularly important species for Pacific and interior band-tailed pigeon populations [11,14,15,33,46,61,63,83,85,86]. Fire management recommendations in these habitats include frequent low- to moderate-consumption prescribed surface fires to inhibit conifer growth [36,44,48,89,93]. For more detailed suggestions on the fire management of oaks important to the band-tailed pigeon, see Gambel oak, Oregon white oak, and California black oak.

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