Another in our occasional series on the supposed “bad guys” of Nature, Feral Pigeons have an interesting lineage. Originally Rock Doves all lived on cliffs and mountains, but then thousands of years ago some of them were domesticated for food (and later sport and messaging) – Mesopotamian tablets and Egyptian hieroglyphics reference this. Subsequently, some escaped back to the wild, and their large numbers are testimony to their success at adapting to urban habitats, swapping the cliffs their ancestors frequented for the ledges of buildings. A trip into Otley town centre will always reveal a flock perched on some roof-top or other. In a sense they have become too successful, resulting in measures to reduce their numbers and distribution. Ironically the excrement that can be such a problem today was once collected to be used as fertiliser and in the manufacture of gunpowder. My photo shows a pigeon that dropped in on us at the Otley2030 Buttercross stall.