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HOW COME WE DON’T EVER SEE BABY PIGEONS?

By Chris Williams on March 12, 2018.

I work downtown in an area that seems to have a real pigeon problem. They're everywhere, on all the building ledges and roofs but I never see baby pigeons or even pigeon nests. Are their nests and young somewhere else besides downtown?

L. C., Boston, MA

I’m pretty sure that their nests and young are right downtown as well, and you’re probably seeing “babies” all the time, but you just don’t know it. By the time baby pigeons are fledged and are out and about, they are full grown and look and act just like mom and dad.

PIGEON YOUNG GROW QUICKLY

After hatching from the egg, a baby pigeon is fed pigeon “milk,” a high-energy glop that is regurgitated from the crops of the parents. As a result, baby pigeons grow quickly, doubling in size daily during their first week of life. Older pigeon babies are fed grain and other adult foods brought by the parents. They are big enough to fly and leave the nest 4-5 weeks after hatching. Pigeons can nest year round in mild climates and a single female can produce up to 10 young a year.

You won’t notice all of this nurturing activity since pigeon nests aren’t very visible either. Like baby pigeons, you might have seen a pigeon nest without realizing it since they don’t match our image of what a bird’s nest should be. On a building ledge, you may have seen a low messy area with sticks, twigs, grass, and debris. That’s a pigeon’s sloppy nest. A nest site that is continuously in use will be full of accumulated droppings, feathers, and bird parasites such as mites, lice, and the pigeon equivalent of bed bugs.

PIGEON NESTS ARE HIDDEN ON OR IN BUILDINGS

Although pigeons have separate sites for daytime loafing and nighttime roosting, nests are usually constructed in the more protected roosting sites on a dry, flat surface (see Pigeons Use Different Sites for Different Purposes) A typical nest site, selected by the male pigeon, would be on a ledge or roof under cover, in eaves, in an attic or a steeple, or under a bridge or overpass.

The male brings materials to the female who arranges them into a nest. Both parents take turns sitting on the nest with the male taking day shift and the female having nighttime duty. They share feeding duties, too. Probably some of those pigeons that you see sitting on a messy ledge are big babies that still haven’t fledged or left the nest.

Bird control, including bird-proofing, happens to be one of our specialties at Colonial Pest. See our Bird Control page under Services.

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