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Animal Themes
Birds
Pigeons



Pigeons
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.41

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    brawny, billon, plump-bodied, pouter, bag-like, tragedy, doves, uncontrolled, technology, emperor, fail, entire, slaughter, altogether, population, location
     content words:    North America, Cincinnati Zoo


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Pigeons   

1     Everywhere you go, especially in big cities, you can see pigeons. These plump-bodied birds love gathering in large groups. When they walk or run, they continuously bob their small heads back and forth as if they are nodding or agreeing to something. Once they take off, they reveal their brawny side.
 
2     Pigeons are strong fliers. They can reach a top speed of about 50 miles per hour. Some fly nearly 600 miles a day! They are also famous for their "homing" instinct. That means they can find their way home even if they are released from a faraway location. Because of this skill, pigeons have been domesticated for thousands of years and used as messengers to deliver news. With today's modern technology, we do not rely on pigeons for messenger services anymore. But, many people raise pigeons and train them for pigeon racing.
 
3     Pigeons have two rather un-bird-like behaviors. The first has to do with the way they drink. When pigeons are thirsty, they dip their bills into puddles and suck up water. They do not have to lift their heads to swallow it as most birds do. The second unusual thing about pigeons is that they feed their young (called "squabs") with "crop milk." All mammals do this, but only two other bird species do. Flamingoes and emperor penguins have this ability, too. In the case of mammals, females have mammary glands that secrete milk. For pigeons, however, both males and females make crop milk. (The crop is a bag-like chamber in birds' throats that is usually used for storing food.)

Paragraphs 4 to 7:
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Animal Themes
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Birds
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Animals
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