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California Fish and Game is □ |ournal devoted to the conser-
vation of wildlife. If its contents are reproduced elsewhere, the
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Published Quarterly by







NORMAN B. LIVERMORE, JR., Adminlslrafor


THOMAS H. RICHARDS, JR., President, Sacramento
WILLIAM P. ELSER, Vice President JAMES Y. CAMP, Member

Son Diego Los Angeles


Redding Huntington Park



1416 9th Street
Sacramento 95814

Editorial StafF

LEO SHAPOVALOV, Editor-in-Chief Sacramento

ALMO J. CORDONE, Editor for Inland Fisheries Sacramento

WM. E. SCHAFER, Acting Editor for Inland Fisheries -. Sacramento

CAROL M. FERREL, Editor for Wildlife Sacramento

HERBERT W. FREY, Editor for Marine Resources Terminal Island

DONALD H. FRY, JR., Editor for Salmon and Steelhead Sacramento


The Band-Tailed Pigeon in California Walton A. Smith 4

A Summary of Band Recoveries from Redheads {Aythya ameri-
cana) Banded in Northeastern California Wcu-ren C. Rienccker 17

Determination of the Winter Range of a Black-Tailed Deer Herd

in the North Coast Range of California Eichard D. Bauer,

Jerome T. Light, Jr., and William R. Thornton 27

A Food Habits Stud}'- of the Southern Sea Otter, Enhydra lutris
nereis Earl E. Ehert 33

The Ability of Washington Anglers to Identify Some Common Ma-
rine Fishes Frank Haw and Raymond M. Buckley 43

Two Fishes and a Mollusk, New to California's Marine Fauna, With
Comments Regarding Other Recent Anomalous Occurrences
Alec R. Strachan, Charles IT. Turner, and Charles T. Mitchell 49

Book Reviews 58


Rosonl)latt, Richard 'SI., and Bernard J. Zaluiraneo. The eastern Pacific groupers
of the genus Mycteropcrca, including a new species. 53 (4) : 228-245, 1967.

Figure 3 on page 232 and Figure 4 on page 233 should be transposed. The cap-
tions for these figures should remain in place.


Calif. Fish and Game, 54 (1) : 4-1 G. 19GS.



Wildlife Management Branch

California Department of Fish and Game

The Pacific band-tailed pigeon (Columbia fasciata tnonilis) follows two
main migration routes as it enters California from the north. One route
is along the Coast Range, and the second is along the western slopes of
the Sierra Nevada. The fall southward migration is usually complete by
October, and the spring migration is complete by the end of June. Resi-
dent pigeon populations mix freely with migrating flocks in the foothill
and mountain areas of central coastal California during the fall.

A seasonal fluctuation in the diet of the pigeon was disclosed by the
analysis of 157 pigeon crops and gizzards. The fall diet consisted pri-
marily of mast, supplemented in the spring with cereal grains. Orchard
fruit showed up heavily in the spring and summer diet. The berries and
fruits from native trees and shrubs were important summer foods.

The salt content of water samples from two springs regularly visited
by pigeons was 12,406 and 2,025 mg/liter. The ions most prevalent were
calcium, sodium, chlorine, and sulfate.

Agricultural depredation on some crops by pigeons is recognized, and
several methods of controlling damage to crops are discussed.

During the period 1952 to 1958, 3,084 pigeons were banded, from
which only 170 bands were recovered. About two-thirds of the bands
were recovered in California.

Destruction of habitat and hunting ore the main factors limiting the
band-tailed pigeon population.

Weights of adult pigeons varied from 340 to 470 g for males and 280
to 440 g for females.


Tlie Pacific biind-tailed pigeon is one of llic importaiif iiii^ratory >^;mie
birds ill flio Pacific Coast states. It is limited in California and other
western states. The mountain and foothill areas of the western states
are the breedinji: rang-e, and California is the primary winferiiifr ranpre.

The Pacific band-fail is nsnally restricted to the -western side of the
Sierra Nevada, and the Pocky IMountain subspecies is found in the
mountain areas to the east of the Sierra Nevada. However, Paige (1964)
reported the band-failed ]iif>'eon from the Panamint T?anp:e of eastern
California. 11. T. Ilai-per (]iers. comm. i I'cported band-tailed pijjreons
from the Ar<>-us Pan.u'e in Inyo County and fi'om the eastern slopes of
the Sierra Nevada near Little Lake, California. A.L. Hensley (pers.
comm.) reported pigeoiis i'rom the vicinity of Ilaiwee Reservoir, near
Olancha, California, in Inyo County. There was no indication of the
subspecies involved in aii\' of these reports.

Since California is the principal wintering area of th(> band-tailed
pigeon, it is imperative to gather data that will assist in the manag(>-
ment of the species, insure fh(> perpetuation of the si)ecies, and ])rovide
for hunter recreation when a surplus exists. If is estimated that by

1 Submitted for publication INlarch 1967. Tliis study was made possible with fund.*; of
Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration, California Project ^V-42-T{, "Management
Studies of Upland Game", and I'roject ■V\'-4T-R, "Upland Game Investig-ations".



1980 tliere will be from 41,000 to 55,000 pigeon hunters and that the
maximum annual bag will be 400,000 birds. This will approach the
potential take allowable while maintaining the resource (California
Fish and Wildlife Plan, 19G6).

The primary objectives of this study were to determine: (i) migra-
tory habits, (ii) food habits, (iii) population dynamics determined
through trapping and banding, (iv) the effect of hunting on the popu-
lation, and (v) the extent of depredations on agricultural crops.

This paper is a report on the results of the second part of a two-part
study. The first report, on the nesting and reproduction of the band-
tailed pigeon in California, was published earlier by Macgregor and
Smith (1955).


The migration routes and concentration areas WTre determined from
band recovery data, observation, and personal interview of Department

Food habit information was obtained from field observation of feed-
ing birds, field inspection of bird crops, and laboratory analysis of
crop contents collected during the hunting season and from birds
damaging agricultural crops.

Samples of water were collected from mineral springs near Bangor,
Butte County, and French Gulch, Shasta County, and anah^zed by
department laboratory technicians to determine why these springs were
used by pigeons.

To determine the population dynamics of the pigeon, trapping and
banding operations were conducted throughout the year wherever pi-
geon concentrations were large enough to justify trapping effort. A
sample of the breeding population was banded on the Monterey Penin-
sula, on the central coast of California. A segment of the migratory
population wintering in California was also banded.

Several types of traps were used with varying degrees of success.
A drop trap similar to the one described by AVooten (1955) was used
with only limited success. A variation of the cannon-projected net trap
described by Dill and Thornsberry (1950) was used successfully at
mineral springs and in grain stubble fields. In areas where the cannon
net trap could not be operated, a box-type trap with an opening in the
top which could be closed manually by a sliding door of net was used
successfully'. The basic pattern of this trap was developed by technicians
of the Colorado Game and Fish Commission (letter from Oregon State
Game Commission).

All captured birds Avere banded with No. 5 aluminum bands supplied
by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Some birds were color marked
successfull.y with a picric acid and alcohol solution.

The most acceptable trap bait for band-tailed pigeons was wdiatever
the birds happened to be feeding on at the time. In the Carmel area
various grains such as milo, cracked corn, and whole barley were used
with good success. During the summer, after the barley fields had been
harvested, barley was acceptable. Attempts to bait with food other than
what was naturally available to the birds were usually unsuccessful.

Plumage characteristics were used to determine the sex and age of
the trapped birds. The plumage characteristics used in sexing and


agiiiy the birds were the intenso pinkish brown on the breast of the
male, whicli extends farther along the bi-east and thinks than in the
female, and the more extensive and lniLilitir hronze-greeu iridescence
on tlie neck of tlie male. Juvenih's \V{'re separated by the i)ale edging
oil the Aving eoverls. hiek of a distinct neck ci'cscent. and general hick
of achill coloration.

As a check on the ability ot' ;iii dhsci'xcr to determine the sex and
age of pigeons, tlu' birds in the Imnier's bag ^vere also inspected in-
ternally for sex characteristics. A<^i' was determined by the ])reseiice
of the bursa of Fabi'icius in immatui-e birds. The hunter kill tlata were
obtained by clieckiiiL;' hunters lea\in<j the hunting areas and recording
the iiuider success.

A dynamic life table was constructed I'l-nin band recovery data for
band-tailed i)igeons to determine the ajinual mortalitv rate (method of
Hickey. 1952).



It is dit'ticult to ])reilict the route of travel or the time of arrival of
migratory pigeons wintering in California. There are two main migra-
tion routes for birds coming from the iioilli. One route is along the
Khnnath ]\Iountains and Cascade TJange in north central California
and south along the Coast Kanges in the western part of California ;
the second route is from the Cascade Eange south along the western
slopes of the Sierra Nevada in central California to the Tehachapi
]\lountains in south-central California and continuing into southern
California ranges. One route may be used one year to the complete
exclusion of the other. Periodically there is a shift from one side to the
other of the interior valleys. A flock of j)igeons was observed crossing
the Sacramento Valley near the Sutter Buttes by Wallace Macgregor
in ]!)r)4, and large flights of pigeons were reported crossing the San
Joaquin Valle.y near Reedley during the fall of 1951 (State Game
"Warden G. Davis, pers. comm.). Neff (1947) reports an observation by
E. J. Little of 9,000 pigeons stopping to feed in the Sutter Buttes. a
small iHountain range in the center of the Sacramento Valley, on Feb-
ruary 20, id;}."). Xetf also reports seeing two migrating bands of pigeons
flying across the Sacramento Valley in May, 1932.

The time of arrival of migrating pigeons in California varies from
year to year. Usually by late Se]itember the majority of the birds from
the northern coastal states have arrived in California and by mid-
October are entirely within the State.

The time required to complete the southward migration depends
largely upon the availability of food along the migration route. During
years when there is a scarcity of food in northern California, the south-
ward migration is completed earlii'i- tli;in usual.

The noi'tliward migration is usually c(iin|)lete by the first of April.
and \ei'y I'i'w large jiigeon conc(>ntrations can be found in central and
southern Cidifornia after Aj)ril. Clover (1953) gives the last wei'k of
March as the ai-ri\;d time of spring migrants in the Humboldt Bay
area. There the migration was at its peak in Api'il and continued
through dune. During this stu<ly it Avas discovered, tluit imt all pigeons


migrated. Nonmigratory flocks of band-tailed pigeons were found in
the Monterey Peninsula area and in the foothills near Pasadena in
southern California. Migratory flocks often visited areas where resident
pigeons were present.

Band recoveries indicate that summer resident pigeons often join
fall migrating flocks to feed in foothill and mountain areas. Color
marked birds, banded during tlie summer on the Monterey Peninsula,
were frequently observed with large migratory flocks feeding in the
barley stubble fields near Carmel Valley, near Carmel on the Monterey
Peninsula, during the fall. At least six banded and color marked birds
were killed by hunters in tlie Santa Lucia Mountains, Monterey
County; one was banded as a nestling during the summer at Carmel.
Of the birds banded during the months of June, July, and August on
the Monterey Peninsula and in Carmel Valley and recovered during the
hunting seasons, none was recovered over 2 miles north from the band-
ing stations.

Food Habits

The feeding habits are unique in tluit the birds are highly mobile
and are able to locate food concentration areas readily. Traditional
feeding areas may not be frequented if food shortages exist. Also,
rather large items are taken, considering the size of tlie birds. Whole
acorns and fruits are taken from trees by an assortment of acrobatic
maneuvers, especially during the fall and winter. The birds often cling
precariously to small branches to obtain acorns and fruits, then drop
to a lower branch and continue the search for food. When searching
for acorns in the forest duff, the leaves and debris are flipped aside by
a horizontal movement of the beak. In grain stubble, pigeons feed in
a compact group and advance by alternately walking and flying to the
front of the advancing flock.

Feeding is usually restricted to one abundant food item, even though
other food may be readily available. AVhen food is limited, however,
pigeons often resort to a variety of food items. Eecognizable quantities
of material from five different plant species were found in a single
crop examined on July 22, 1953, which contained barley, blackberries,
huckleberries, manzanita berries (Arctostaphylos sp.), and immature

If allowed to feed undisturbed, pigeons may gorge themselves to the
extent of impeding normal flight. Some examples of the quantity of
food items eaten by individual pigeons are 42 acorns (H. M. Worcester,
1951, pers. comm.). Ill madrone berries (H. M. Worcester, 1951, pers.
comm.), 80 dogwood fruits (Neff, 1947), 104 eascara berries (Neff,
1947), 879 wheat kernels (C. li. Lostetter, 1959, pers. comm.), 615
barley seeds (Gilman, 1903), and 97 green apricots.

Crop and Stomach Analysis

The samples of food habits data available are limited and scattered
over a long time period and over a wide area of California. Samples of
food habits material collected over an 8-month period indicate a definite
seasonal pattern in the feeding habits of the pigeon (Table 1).

Mast food items, mostly acorns, are used heavily in the fall, winter,
and on into the spring, being supplemented by cereal grains, primarily








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waste grain from harvest operations. Orchard fruit shows up in the
spring food habits sample ; liowever, it must be pointed out that those
stomach samph^s containing orchard fruit were obtained while investi-
gating depredation complaints. Some of the crops examined during
the month of February contained cereal grains and were noted in
collections made on depredation investigations.

The berries and fruits from native trees and shrubs become important
in the diet as the sunnner progresses.

Data from other western states (Neff, 1947) show a similar pattern
but add piiion pine ^Pinus cembroides) nuts to the mast of fall and
winter foods. Tlie absence of pine nuts in the California data reflects
the meager sampling. Few pigeon hunters in the Frazier Mountain-
Mt. Pinos region of Kern County fail to recognize the significance of
a good piiion pine mast crop in relation to their limiting success.

Field analysis from scnirces other than tliose analyzed in the depart-
ment laboratory also document the significance of cultivated crops in
the pigeon diet during years of severe winters and failure of natural
food supplies. W. L. Farsehon (1949, pers. comm.) found barley, oats,
raisins {Vitus sp.), and almond buds (Prunus sp.) in the crops of 18
pigeons examined in Fresno County during March and black walnut
{Juglmis sp.) buds and olives during April. R. Henry (1949, pers.
comm.) found olives, barley, oats, and mistletoe {Phoradendron sp.)
berries in the crops of 14 birds examined during April 1949 near


Gravel or grit in the gizzard is required for grinding most of the
food eaten by band-tailed pigeons. Of the gizzards examined by the
department laboratory, 29 contained 36.8 cc of grit, an average of 1.3 cc
per gizzard, which was 19.5% of the total gizzard contents. The ratio
of grit to the total crop and stomach contents of 639 crops and stomachs
reported by Neff (1947) ranged from 7.5% in July to 31.4% in Decem-
ber and averaged 18.4%. Neff also found that grit was utilized by the
birds every month of the year but in lesser amounts in gizzards con-
taining hard fruit pits.


Water is required daily and is usually taken at midmorning and in
late afternoon. Drinking is accomplished by dipping the bill into the
water and swallowing without raising the head. Fresh water in shallow
basins is used for bathing.

Mineral water is eagerly sought by pigeons during the early fall and
winter. This apparent craving for mineral salts is well known, and
certain springs are famous concentration areas. Seawater is also used
in California and "Washington.

The analysis of the water samples from French Gulch Spring, Shasta
County, and Bangor Spring, Butte County, which were heavily used,
is as follows: conductivity (mhos/cm) 21.0 and 4.5, respectively; total
salts 12,406 mg/liter and 2,025 mg/liter, respectively. The mineral con-
tent of the springs in mg/liter were : calcium, 1,140 and 57 ; magnesium,
7 and 18; sodium, 3,505 and 936; chlorine, 6,635 and 492; sulfate, 1,074
and 230; and bicarbonate, 45 and 292. The total salinity of French


Gulch Spring is over six times that of Bangor Spring. However, the
water analyses do not yield a clue to why ])igeons prefer these waters.
The possibility is that tlie eraving for some specific ion is related to
some physiological fuiietion, such as the digestion of mast.

Relationship to Agriculture

The relalionshij) {>[ band-tailed pigcous to agricultural opci-ations in
California lias a long and edntroMM-sial history, dating back to at least
]IM)(). Damage to crops, i-e.d or allei:(Ml. causes concei-n to agriculturists
and to state and federal game agencies charged \villi maintaining and
protecting the j)igeon ])oi)ulation.

Most crop damage com{daints occur in late Avinter (February),
spring, and early summer (.lunei. ;it which lime the staple food items
become st-arce. At this time the ])igeons utilize the fruit and seeds of
cultivated crops, as well as buds and flowers of native plants. During
fall and winter, cereal grains are sought from stubble fields. In late
winter and early spring, seeded grains ai-e utilized. Late spring and
early summtu- often find the birds in the valley areas ])icking buds and
immature fruit from plum, ))riine, apricot, })each, and almond orchards.

Band-tailed pigeons may danuige orchards and vineyards extensively,
often causing considerable financial loss by their destruction of fruit
and fruit buds, and breakage of s])r()uts, shoots, branches, and vines.

Most complaints of damage to seeded or sprouted grain must be dis-
counted because band-tailed pigeons do not dig or scratch, nor do they
pull sprouted grain. Examination of the crop contents of birds collected
in sprouted grain fields revealed that only dry, exposed, and unsprouted
grain was eaten. Usually some extra seed that is not covered by the
planting operation is available.

Methods of Crop Protection

Appeals for relief from crop cU'])rt'dations usually come to the atten-
tion of the law enforcement or management braiudies of the California
Department of Fish and Game, who in turn notify the U. S. Fish and
Wildlife Service management agent concerned. The usual procedure is
for rein-esentatives of the state and federal agencies to investigate the
complaint and attempt to devise an efficient and economical method for
prevention or alleviation of damage.

The first attempts to prevent crop damage by pigeons were by killing
or herding the birds by gunfire. However, these methods brought about
I)ublic criticism, especially when the birds were killed. Herding, under
strict control, is more desirable. Rope firecrackers and shell crackers
were used effectively for dispersing band-tailed pigeons from apricot
orchards in Ilemet Valley, Riverside County, during the .spring of
lO-lS. The use of such devices is described by ^Mosby (1!JG3;.

Other Complaints

( >ccasionally ])igeons are accused of spreading disease. In April l!*52
an olive grower near Corning complained that ])igeons migrating from

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