The band-tailed pigeon (Patagioenas fascita) is a “cousin” of the rock pigeon (Columba livia), which is familiar to most urban dwellers. Band-tailed pigeons live in the mature conifer forests of the Pacific Northwest and in oak/conifer woodlands in the Southwest.
Blue grey above and purple grey below, the band-tailed pigeon has a white crest at the back of the neck. In flight its long tail has a distinctive wide pale band at the tip.
Band-tailed pigeons form large flocks. When flushed their wings make a loud clapping sound. I find band-tailed pigeons to be quite wild, very difficult to get anywhere near without the entire flock flying off with a clatter. Additionally, when perched in a conifer, the band-tailed pigeon is well camouflaged and difficult to see, much less photograph. Therefore I was delighted when this band-tailed pigeon alight on a snag near Medicine Lake (Siskiyou County CA) and did not immediately fly off. It may not be a good photograph, but I finally got a band-tailed pigeon picture.