I make a lot of confessions on this blog and here’s another one: I love pigeons. 

Our former neighborhood had a pigeon problem. The houses had been designed with several roof-line nooks just perfect for pigeons to set up their unsightly but productive nests. 

Even so, I grew to love these birds once I got to know them. They are smart, very friendly and can be easily trained to eat from the hand. They also take a mate and form bonded pairs, which I found endearing. It was my experience, from the nests that I observed year in and year out, that a happy pigeon couple would easily produce ten chicks a year, always with two eggs per cycle. The neighbors who complained about the pigeons, but who didn’t take steps to close off the breeding sites, probably had no idea just how many new pigeons one nest would introduce into the neighborhood each year. 

The only predator I saw was the occasional hawk. I even watched a hawk glide down to a roof, then pluck a chick out of the nest with its talons then take off. My only surprise was that it didn’t happen more often. 

The most frequent way these birds died was by slamming into windows and breaking their necks. I was always saddened when this would happen and more times than I would like to remember, I had to dispose of a dead bird. But I usually took a moment to just look at the beauty of these birds as I held them in my hands. What a profound miracle nature is. 

Here’s wonderful video on how amazing these birds are.

FunFacts about Pigeons (Source) (Source)

    • Pigeons are doves.
    • The first images of pigeons date back to 3000 BC in Mesopotamia, which is modern day Iraq.
    • Pigeons have had many roles through the years, as a food source, a messenger, a blood sacrifice, a pet and even a war hero.
    • The pigeon war hero, quote: In both the First and Second World Wars the pigeon saved hundreds of thousands of human lives by carrying messages across enemy lines. Pigeons were carried on ships in convoys and in the event of a U-boat attack a messenger pigeon was released with details of the location of the sinking ship. In many cases this led to survivors being rescued and lives saved. (Source)
    • Pigeon manure was considered a highly valuable fertilizer throughout history.
    • Pigeons were used as messengers as early as the 5th century BC in Syria and Persia.
    • Pigeons bob their heads to create depth perception.
    • Pigeons mate for life and can reproduce up to 8 times a year with 2 eggs each time. Incubation is 18-19 days and both parents take turns keeping the eggs warm. Both parents ‘nurse’ the young as well with a highly nutritious, regurgitated milk they produce.
    • Young pigeons, still dependent on their parents, are known as squabs. At two months, the young are ready to leave the nest.
    • Pigeons ‘home’. They can be released thousands of miles away from their roost and still return safely. They are powerful birds and can return from a distance of 400 to 600 miles within 1 day.
    • Pigeons have been trained as lifesavers. Their vision, which sees both what a human can see and the ultra-violet spectrum, are able to identify life vests from the air much more accurately than their human counter-parts.
    • Pigeons are one of the most intelligent birds on the planet. They can learn and distinguish the letters of the alphabet and they are one of only 6 species, and the only non-mammal, that can recognize itself in the mirror.

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*** This Week’s Giveaway ***

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*** This week’s giveaway! *** To be entered into the giveaway drawing, please leave a comment about Pigeons. Do you love em or hate em? Have you ever fed them from your hand or had them perch on your shoulder? Which photo did you like best! Feel free to share whatever comes to mind and share from the heart. 

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34 thoughts on “Pigeons

  1. I’m not a big fan of birds, especially large flocks of them, that invade my space.

    I have enough destructive native bird flocks that invade my yard. I don’t even want to think about what damage pigeons could do.

    Yes, I do mean invade.

    • Mary,
      I knew this subject was a bit controversial, especially for anyone who suffers because of, as you said, invading flocks of birds. They were pests in my old neighborhood, but I came to love them anyway. So, I totally understand.

      Buckeye, Arizona USA

  2. I have always admired the pigeon and have felt that they have gotten a bad wrap. I use to sit outside of my building and feed them, watching their antics to get a piece of bread. Thank you for all the fun facts on them. I especially liked the picture of the pigeon drinking from the fountain.

  3. I have a cousin who raises and shows pigeons. Some of them are quite beautiful. Most of us are familiar with the two toned gray pigeons that can be quite bothersome and dirty. Thanks for the explanation of head bobbing. Didn’t know that at all.

  4. I would love going to visit my aunt in NYC simply for the fact of going to the park with bags full of feed to give to the pigeons. It was so much fun having them all swarm me. I love the whole bonded pair thing and how they could be used to deliver messages.

  5. We were in Paris and waiting at LaDefense for transportation. We would watch the most beautiful, iridescently colored pigeons. They were friendly and I loved watching them interact with each other. Actually this is one of the things I remember the most from our trip and it was such a simple thing!

  6. I didn’t know pigeons were as smart as they are & could see in both spectrums.I didn’t know they could spot life jackets. Learned a lot from you today. I’ve always seen them around but never knew that much about them

  7. Pigeons are every where here. I don’t mind them. My sister and I saved one a couple of years ago. It simply let us help it and when it was better it flew away. They are intelligent, most people find them awful, but I find them interesting and they are all unique.

  8. I have to confess too. I think pigeons are beautiful birds. I love to watch them. I found them interesting before, but after watching that video I have upgraded to fascinating. I haven’t owned any or even held any, but I do enjoy watching them. Whether it is the common pigeon or basic dove, I enjoy the dance and the sounds. We have a lot of Moaning Doves around here. I am fascinated by their mating rituals and the simple fact they mate for life. Anyway, thank you for the subject today. I enjoyed it.

    I especially appreciate that I am not the only one in the world that actually likes this bird. Most of my neighbors think of them as pests. Thank you!

  9. I’ve always liked pigeons.
    Their cooing is very soothing.

    I didn’t realize that they mate for life.
    Not many creatures in the animal kingdom do that.

    Bobbing their heads up and down to obtain depth perception! Amazing.

    This blog is filled with a basket full of surprises.

    Unfortunately, here in NC I seldom see them even in the big cities.

    Up North, they were everywhere, especially in Boston and other large cities.

    There are eradication programs in use to curb their population in NC.
    Very sad.

  10. The pigeons look so beautiful in the pictures. Unfortunately, around my area in the Victor Valley of Southern California, they’re a real problem. The birds have managed to damage heavy concrete tile roofs. Most of us consider them to be flying vermin.

  11. I actually watched a documentary on the History Channel about pigeons in war. It was talking about how a platoon was being shot at from the air by their own allies. They couldn’t tell they were shooting their own soldiers. They had 3 pigeons with them. The first two were shot by the enemy, but the third one made it through saving the rest of the soldiers lives! They are so fascinating and unfortunately have a bad rap. Beautiful pictures.

  12. I’m okay with them. I love Tesla, he was the greatest mind, and he loved them. They’re very pretty. Thank you for the photos. Living in NE OH.

  13. Apparently they have their good points. but I have never cared for them. I do know there have been many movie characters who raised pigeons, kept them as pets, raced them, or used them to send messages. Perhaps in books too? That would make an interesting list.

  14. Pigeons are fun to watch and some are quite pretty. I live in the country and we have a large population of them living in an abandoned barn nearby. I learned a lot from this post today. Thanks. I am in southern Minnesota.

  15. Pigeons are around the city a lot around here, they don’t mind the people much any more. People complain about them, but I think they get a bad wrap. They just want to survive. Loved seeing the different colors they come in.

  16. At my elementary school we used to eat outside and I’d always see the pigeons hanging around the lunch area and generally getting in the way. I admit I pretty much thought they were annoying pests, but then came the day when we read Jerry Spinelli’s Wringer. Even now, so many years after reading the book, I remember how much of an impact it had on me regarding peer pressure and moral decisions. From then on, whenever I see pigeons, I have a bit of a soft spot for them!
    <3 from Southern California

  17. In the area where I live, when I first moved here, there were pigeons every where. There were all sizes and beautiful feather colors. But gee what a mess they make. It actually became disgusting. Keeping your house, yard and vehicles clean. But now the city has so many feral cats, I think they decided to move on. I live in Northern, California, about an hour from Monterey, California.

  18. I never knew there were so many different ones. They’re so pretty. I love that they mate for life. We have doves that live in the trees in our back yard here in Ocala Florida. We hear them cooing all the time.

  19. Nice article. As you know, I’m wasn’t a fan of pigeons but now that they’re no longer cooing down the echo chamber of my chimney, I like them. Barb from Osceola, Wisconsin

  20. Love the interesting pigeon facts. One of my favourite film characters is the pigeon lady from Home Alone 2 played by Brenda Fricker. Class act!

  21. I am not a lover of pigeons but I do not go out of my way to run them over in a parking lot. I have seen people be mean to them and it makes me crazy.

  22. Thanks, Everyone!
    I love hearing your stories. We each have one and it’s awesome to have a place to share. I always learn something from you!

    Buckeye, Arizona USA

  23. i had one on my porch a while back. It seemed dazed. A birding friend of mine said to keep an eye on it in case it needed medical attention, but it flew away a few hours later. Not sure if it had a run-in with a hawk or some other injury, but it never came back to roost on my front porch.


  24. I know pigeons have a bad reputation, but I like them. I never knew about how they were used in the World Wars – that just blew my mind. They are also a pretty color and I always love watching them.

  25. I think pigeons are beautiful and I love large flocks of almost any kind of bird. Individually they are amazing and I like the sounds they make.

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