Original Paper

European Journal of Wildlife Research

, Volume 57, Issue 3, pp 421-428

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

The effect of habitat and number of inhabitants on the population sizes of feral pigeons around towns in northern Poland

  • Tomasz HetmańskiAffiliated withDepartment of Zoology, Pomeranian University Email author 
  • , Marcin BocheńskiAffiliated withDepartment of Nature Conservation, Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Zielona Góra
  • , Piotr TryjanowskiAffiliated withInstitute of Zoology, Poznan University of Life Sciences
  • , Piotr SkórkaAffiliated withInstitute of Zoology, Poznan University of Life Sciences


Most studies on factors influencing density of the feral pigeons Columba livia var. domestica were carried out in large cities and agglomerations. However, also in small towns, pigeons are important epidemiological and sanitary problem. In our studies, feral pigeons were censused in 33 towns located in the Pomeranian Province (northern Poland) during 2006–2008. These birds occurred in 19 (57.6%) towns. The number of pigeons was positively correlated with the area of the town, and it was significantly higher in towns localized in agricultural landscape than in towns surrounded by forests. We also found a significant effect of interactions between type of a landscape surrounding a town and residual number of inhabitants on the abundance of pigeons. In the largest towns of the Pomeranian Province, feral pigeons were concentrated mainly in central quarters. In smaller towns, they were noted in central parts or in areas with blocks of flats and even the suburbs. The obtained results suggest that food conditions in small and middle towns may be not sufficient for colonization by pigeons.


Columba livia Distribution Colonization Foraging strategy Urban ecology