600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

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April 22, 1998
Contact: Patricia Thompson, (425) 775-1311, ext. 111 or Tim Waters, (425) 775-1311, ext. 119

Volunteers sought for band-tailed pigeon survey

SEATTLE -- The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is seeking volunteers throughout the state to count band-tailed pigeons in their backyards.

Volunteers will be asked to keep track of how many wild pigeons they see in their yards during the spring and summer. The information will be used by wildlife biologists to determine the native species' population in urban areas.

"The Department has been monitoring band-tailed pigeon populations in urban areas for several years now, but this is the first time we've asked the public to give us a hand," said WDFW wildlife biologist Patricia Thompson.

Band-tailed pigeon populations have declined in western Washington during the past 20 years, but recently have increased in numbers. Unlike the common rock dove or "city pigeon," band-tailed pigeons tend to live in forests and nest in evergreen trees. Many of the birds are observed in urban and suburban areas, possibly because of the popularity of backyard bird feeding and residential development of forested areas.

People who want to volunteer for the survey should send a postcard with their name, address and telephone number by May 3 to Pigeon Survey, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, 16018 Mill Creek Blvd., Mill Creek, Wa. 98012.

It is not necessary for volunteers to have bird feeders in their yard. However, they must know how to distinguish band-tailed pigeons from rock dove pigeons.