HELP! I need to outsmart a 🔶BIRD BRAIN!🔶 (feral pigeons)
🔴I need to outsmart a BIRD BRAIN!🔴 (feral pigeons and semi-ferals)
OK, I'm done!! I thought I had like 1000 times more brain than a PIGEON.
But as it turns out, they are smarter than I thought they were. 😡
And the owner of the permission where I shoot soon might be wondering if my brain is up for the (killing) task….
I need a little bit of tutoring in pigeon psychology — or whatever it is a hunter studies to understand his/her prey. 😟
You see, I don't have much experience with hunting — stalking, hides, baiting, camouflage, all that good stuff. 🤔
'Cause I'm a city slicker, grew up that way, and I recently even upgraded my city slicker rating…., from a population of 300,000 to 10,000,000.
Yupp, believe me, it's a jungle out there….
So, how does a feral pigeon tick? 🤔
And how do I tick it off the list of the living (= one less to spread their infectuous poop all over my city)? 🤔
I'll present you with 3 scenarios that torture my brain. Maybe you can help me understand them.
For each scenario I added a couple of questions that cause me brain pain.
🔴 My Experiences — Open for Your Interpretation 🔴
🔶Scenario 1a: Feral Pigeons
Location: An area of grass and trees where people often walk
Distance to humans: 2 yards — I can walk toward them and they won't even hurry up to get out of my way!
Location: Same place — this time the same pigeons sit on a tall tree, in apparent safety!
Distance to humans: When I appear slowly from behind a natural hide — at a distance of 20 yards — they usually flee in less than 5 seconds!
❔Q1: Why such a DIFFERENCE between 1a and 1b?!? 🤔
❔Q2: How do I PREVENT them to flee in Scenario 1b? 🤔
🔶Scenario (2a): Semi-Feral Pigeons
Location: A cow farm, basically a large corral 50y x 100y
Distance to humans: Several workers frequently go all over the corral.
The pigeons feed on the ground or sit on the fences.
I could get so close that I shot 40 pigeons in 4 hours. Beginner's luck.
Ranges mostly 10 to 40y.
After a kill they flew off, only to return shortly after.
Distance to humans: So close that I shot 80 in 8 hours, same as before (ranges 10 to 40y). Beginner's DUMB luck. 😄
Note that they avoided roosting on a water tower where I had nailed 10 of them in Scenario 2a.
Distance to humans: So far away that I shot 2 pigeons in 3 hours! 😟
They circled overhead many times, but rarely ever landed.
When they saw me approach and getting to about 60y range — they fled.
There are no natural hides.
Scenarios 2a, 2b, and 2c all took place within one month.
❔Q3: Was 2c simply a FREAK incident, an unusual coincidence?!
❔Q4: Do pigeons RECOGNIZE human beings? How can they tell me apart from the workers – from whom they don't flee?
❔Q5: Do pigeons LEARN that a certain place or a certain person is dangerous to their health? What are the things they learn or recognize: colors, faces, cars, times of the day, a person with a gun….?
❔Q6: How can I CONFUSE THEIR LEARNING — or help them to forget or to unlearn — and to start trusting places and people again?
❔Q7: If I set up a popup blind in the middle of the corral to hinde in — will they not soon associate the presence of the blind with their comrades deaths — and stay away?
❔Q8: I understand that deer and other similarly sophisticated mammals are very cautious, and very perceptive to sight, sound, and smell. Very smart.
But pigeons?!? C'mon! 😡
They got BIRD brains.
That leads to the next scenario.
Distance to humans: I sit in my tiny backyard and I have humming birds and 10 other types of birds, small and large, sit in the bushes and the grass around me.
Range 2 to 5 yards.
I move, they stay.
Distance to humans: Pigeons never enter my backyard with me present.
If I do make a slow careful appearance they immediately rush off! Every other winged visitor stays.
❔Q9: Why the difference between pigeons (3b), and other birds (3a)?
Thanks for your help! Together we'll show them bird brains who's got more of a brain! 💀
I apologize for the formatting of this message, somehow it all ended up in a quote, then this. I give up.
TL:DR making eye contact is the best way I've found to scare off game.
Sauce? Raised in the wilds of Michigan thinking I'd be an Indian when I grew up, I engaged heavily in learning to live from the land. Thank God I moved away!
Translating to city slicker... I live near the city now!
Q1 & Q2. Pretend they're not feral pigeons... no, not hom-ing pigeons... they're home-less pigeons.
Homeless pigeons with a sign holding up traffic... I mean walking through traffic, you can figure the rest out ;P
Look at the ground like you found something interesting. Animals have more consciousness than you'd expect,
and being semi-verbal leads to good body language skills. You can fool them with false body language.
Learn the words they say when being fed and repeat them, it's OK to have an accent! Chickens use at least 6 words.
Learn to speak squirrel and curse a lot, they'll try to figure out what you see instead of watching you.
Act like you found something interesting on the ground, like you're eating a sandwich (they don't count bites), or generally be otherwise BUSY NOT LOOKING CREEPY.
Q4 & 5 Duh! All due respect, DUH! FFS man they live outside and have short life expectancy!
Q6 Lots of animals don't have great working memory, or strong reasoning. Long term is different and might mean lifetime learning, yes they'll remember you forever. More likely, they'll remember that their comrade died in that location. Prey animals seem to be quite sensitive to witnessing death. Clean up as quickly as possible, don't be there every day, move the bait around. Hide your gun, MANY MANY animals know about guns.
Lastly, wear camo. That means blending in with muck boots and Carharts, a HAT which covers your face. BEST IDEA-> Borrow an employees jacket!
Blind isn't a bad idea but it must be farm related, look up "Calf house" or "Calf Hutch" , find a large plastic doghouse, or make a false "tube round bale" with something pot growers use called "Panda Plastic". Or get with a dairy farmer about real tube plastic, it looks like Saran Wrap.
Q9 The other birds are protected as migratory or songbirds, no hunting pressure EVER. Try a lawn chair, get a bag of bread, or go inside and shoot out a window. Remember not to make eye contact, get a ladies woven straw hat you can see through if you have poor peripheral vision.
Lastly, IDK about pigeons but crows use scouts. Wounding a scout or being spotted will usually keep the flock away, far away. Being in a flock works against them however, and peer pressure (every hen for herself) will decrease caution. Let a few take the bait! Birds are ga-ga over cracked corn, $10/50Lbs. Remember I said to fool them with body language? That includes a decoy, no not pigeon, spread some of that corn JUST outside the fence so the cows are reaching for it, the birds will be like "Oh damn they can ALMOST reach! Better hurry!"
Good luck learning to hunt, it's a lot more than the 2 isles in Walmrat would have you believe.
thanks for taking the time to write your comments — very helpful, intriguing!
To exaggerate just a little, I think I have treated pigeons as if there grey rocks with wings.
And you describe their thinking and learning habilities more like if they were humans with wings! 😄
WOW, that means I went about this all the wrong way, as in wrooooooooonng!! 🤣
Thanks a lot, Gratewhitehuntr, for showing me a world I didn't know existed!
They're more like stereotypical and fairly transparent, a normal range of common behaviors. You could say the same for Man.
I wrote this long post because... well... I've more than made up for your non-hunting, on top of that I'm a carnivore, and it does hurt me the way humans exploit animals. It's not the little piggy's fault that he's delicious! I'm on the fence, and it hurts. Of course it hurts the animals more, but I digress...
Further, I do a fair amount of semi-sensless killing, 4 squirrels this week to teach the outside cat how to hunt. Don't ask! Somehow we're also nursing back to heath an opossum I shot through the head 3 times yet survived, no antibiotics and he'll be dropped off in the forest in a few days. The last XXXX were not so lucky, or the XXXX coons, and I TOTALLY understand it's not the opossum's fault that he's hungry. I'm hungry too, hungry for eggs, the critters can eat lead, and I'm sorry we're in competition. Whoever called it a "Live Trap" was a sick bastid...nuff said...
Even though we live near the city, I insisted on our daughter caring for animals to learn that animals ARE thinking. I chose chickens, due to availability, reputation for stupidity, and egg production. I don't eat cockroaches, chicken eggs are another story.
I've always been fascinated by animal behavior and trying to interact. We deal with the birds on a by-name basis, repeating the name when touching or making eye contact with the bird, most eventually learn a name. Most learn "No" means "run away" but they aren't big on resisting temptation. It's every hen for herself you know!
Frenchy is aloof, but makes eye contact before her name is finished being said, sounds like she's saying "Damn kids on my lawn." Third-ty is friendly and inquisitive same when her name is said and will even come when called. Both learned their name before 6 months. Copper is pretty stupid and took 2 years, still runs away when called. She knows you're after her, because you said her name, otherwise she'd stand there watching for food, but you said her name POOF! Gone.
THAT is a VERY interesting spin on the eye contact issue, a second form of feeling singled out. Boo, Puttzy, Copper all run away if you say their name, these 3 were really stupid mind you, but they were able to learn their name. He SAW me!
Based on learning how to say the chicken word for "RUN FOR YOUR #$*^@)(*# LIVES!!!" and then testing it on babies at Tractor Supply, it's likely that the language is somehow pre-programmed. Those TSC pullets have never seen a hen, never heard the warning sound, yet scatter like cockroaches when you make it. Likewise they come running when you shout "FOOD!" even though no-one taught them language. I do not believe that each incubator hatch of chickens invents the same word (lacking vocal range) they already know. In the same way, sexing by shaking 2 week old peeps is possible. Roosters say one word, hens another.
Chickens can also keep time when singing the egg song, I discovered one day while listening to a midi of the 12 bar blues.
Every one knows what a BB gun is, so with crows and the neighbor's ankle biter bastard. Bites the cops! They should get a Red Ryder!
Different breeds of chicken say different words. Thirddy is some Americauna mix and sort of honks like a goose, almost the spitting image of her Grandmother, same behavior, you wouldn't know it's a different bird. Strange to get a mirror image in F3, or whatever generation we are on... the spitting image. Her Grandma (Birdie) also came when called, an anomaly.
Thirddy's brother Tyson the rooster has his Father Ricky's build and pattern (Wheaten), and his Grandfather's (Pretty Roo's) demeanor and color, that is he's very social and likely to come try and sweet-talk you out of some food. Ricky was almost spastic enough to commit suicide on the inside of a cage! RUN AWAY RUN AWAY! However, he fit the standard of perfection, and I kept him on (5 years to produce Tyson)
Tyson acts a lot like a Cocker Spaniel taught to speak TOO MUCH. I don't know if he's making up words, but it's constant muttering punctuated by excited notes and outbursts. Among his more distinguished words is a special crow at feeding time we call "Hey-a girls I cooked dinner!"
The one I called Pretty Roo didn't crow a lot, he just mumbled. He'd come walking along doing chicken stuff, inspecting the ground for some food he could "call" the ladies over too, just mind his own business. Then about 10 feet away he'd stop and look at you, utter the 3-tone chicken phrase for "What's up Dude?" then if you didn't do anything he'd just go back to looking for bugs. If you engaged him he'd make more noise, look around excitedly like you were mentioning hot women. Ricky (the standard of perfection) didn't want the slightest thing to do with people until 3yo, died at 4yo.
BOO was the Mother of Putzzy, both were SPASTIC! Broody BOO because she was bright white and raised 14 black (Marans) babies. Believe it or not, chickens can tell WHO is what COLOR and the similarly colored chickens might stick together. They also stay in a sub-flock with siblings, for example Dee and Dum (Tweedle) are always by themselves, usually apart from the main flock (around the roo). When one dies the other might not last long.
Putzzy was spastic AND stupid (BOOxRicky) never would go in the house at night. A raccoon dragged her down the street at 2AM by her head, kicking all they way. Next night ALL the birds, even the stubborn ones, went in by themselves. Coons are WAAAAY smarter than most birds, sneakier than a SBD. We don't miss Putzzy, I didn't miss the coon! Years ago a raccoon got into the house and it took a month before they would set foot near the house, all trying to roost in the trees, bushes, fence, ladder and whatnot. They can learn in one experience, retention is a different question.
Intelligence varies also. Set up fence in a 4x10ft letter U shape, some will be trapped at the hairpin, others walk in, look around, and decide it isn't worth all the fuss. Then they walk right out like nothing happened, meanwhile BOO and Putzzy are still trapped in the hairpin.
Anyways, I got on here to update the 450BM pistol thread.
and after I typed all this crap out... wow now I feel stupid... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pigeon_intelligence
I appreciate your insightful and entertaining description of your pets and their psychology.
Great link to the Wiki, but your account is way better, John!
Your comments and experience got me to marvel at the capabilities of these little bird brains....! 😄
I have to approach my future hunts completely different!!
And that pop-up blind I've been looking at, yeah, it needs me.... 😄
The AR thing is done for now, so something else you said... about deer.
There is probably some bird that can smell, but I'm not looking it up! Each animal has some sort of intelligence.
The crow sees, the deer hears, the bear smells. Literally.
Even down to the housefly, they sure can dodge! I swat them out of the air with random Tupperware lids EDIT because I hate houseflies with a passion. Have you ever seen a male chasing females in a 4ft circle @40mph? The Gs would make you soil yourself!
Another fly around here is large, irridecent blue/green, and HOVERS. I try to shoot them with the Red Ryder from 15ft away and have never hit a single one. NEVER (oh crap I admitted to missing) It's like some Matrix stuff, my BBs are moving in slow-mo compared to the fly. It only moved 1/4" to the left, plus the wing width. This is spatial intelligence.
Dogs have amazing scent capabilities but are downright stupid sometimes. They sniff around all intoxicated/hyped when they COULD just quit sniffing dirt, lift their head, look 6ft away and find the darn thing. SIX DAMN FEET SNIFFSNIFFSNIFFSNIFFSNIFFSNIFFSNIFFSNIFF... WTF just LOOK!
Birds have incredible visual skills. Stuff can be obvious, if you were capable of 80 mph you'd need good sight right? Sight and reflex speed are where birds excel, it's probably no coincidence that the fastest birds have the sharpest vision. Chickens can use each eye independently, one eye looks for food up close, another watches the sky for predators. That is why they swivel their head around to check you with a second eye, I see no reason why other birds wouldn't have similar vision.
Bird hearing is also better than you'd expect, but vision is paramount.
It's stupid. I wasted 100s of BBs on them already, and don't plan to quit till I hit one.
They follow you around and hover, it freaks me out! Also an enticing target... yes wait right there Mr. Fly.
This one is minding it's own business, probably wouldn't blast. Vine is called Alamanda.