Cornwall student appears on BBC Winterwatch to promote pigeon project
A zoology student from Cornwall has appeared on BBC Winterwatch to talk about his project to record the national pigeon population.
Adam Rogers, who studies at the University of Exeter's Tremough Campus in Penryn, appeared on the programme leading a project to investigate plumage trends found in the once-domesticated birds.
When domestic animals return to the wild and breed, future generations usually take on their natural dull colour, yet urban pigeons have retained their brightness and variety of plumage.
The 29-year-old undergraduate wants as many people as possible to spend a few minutes counting the number of pigeons with different plumage patterns in their local high street.
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Participants can then report their sightings on the Feral Pigeon Project website, which also contains a handy guide to pigeon colours.
"Pigeons can easily be overlooked as we go about our daily lives," said Mr Rogers. "Yet these seemingly familiar birds have many secrets still to reveal. The fact that they have been successful is clear, yet the means behind their success is less understood.
"No other creature causes such contention as the wild pigeon – some people call pigeons 'rats with wings', others are simply indifferent, but I call them the Super Dove.
"They may not be as glamorous as many of the exotic animals a person could choose to study but take the time to look beneath the feathers and they're just as superbly adapted as any of the African big five."
He added that people don't need to be pigeon experts to get involved in the project, as the various types are easy to tell apart.
Adam is hoping that his research will reveal how pigeons are adapting to human influences, as well as sparking people's interest in wildlife and nature. He will examine aspects such as whether breeding habits are changing in towns where feeding bans have been imposed.
The Feral Pigeon Project appeared on BBC Two's Winterwatch yesterday with a focus on the pigeons' ability to breed in the middle of winter. Adam described working with the BBC production team as "eye-opening".
"Filming with Chris Packham was a fantastic experience, he's clearly a very knowledgeable naturalist and is truly passionate about opening people's eyes to the wildlife around them," he said.