Why don't you see baby Pigeons?

Posted on: 15 February 2021

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Why don't you see baby Pigeons?

Most towns and cities you visit across the country and world, you're bound to come across a crowd of grey, white, brown and black coloured birds we all know as pigeons. Often seen walking along pavements, bobbing their heads or sitting on walls cooing sweetly. Given that pigeons are everywhere, it seems odd that we never see baby pigeons.

We see plenty of old, wise and mature birds and the young who enjoy an occasional game of chicken with traffic, yet never the babies.

The pigeons we see in our towns and cities are actually feral and descend from rock doves, and remain essentially the same bird. Compared to the rock dove, pigeons are a lot more cosmopolitan in their choice of habitat, but they are extremely alike when it comes to nesting.

What does a baby pigeon look like?

Baby pigeons aren't the most pleasant thing to look at, as you can see from the picture below. They do look like their adult counterparts by the time that they are ready to leave their nests, so we never tend to see them in true, 'baby' form - unless you come across a nest.

On average, baby pigeons spend roughly 40 days in their nests. This is a very long time, especially when the average time of garden bird babies in their nests at around 20 days.

Because of the length of time, once they leave they tend to be fully grown and almost indistinguishable from adults. It can be hard to distinguish juvenile pigeons from the fully grown adults, but it's not completely impossible if you know the main signs. Juveniles tend to lack the shimmering green and purple colouring around their necks and the cere - the white growth that sits above their beaks - will be more of a pinkish-grey compared to the white colour for adults.

Fledging pigeons are a lot more common than you think, so next time you see a group of pigeons, be sure to look out for the juveniles using the tips above.

Why don't you see baby Pigeons?

Baby Pigeon (Credit: Drow male, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Why don't you see baby Pigeons?

Juvenile Pigeon (Credit: Ingrid Taylar/CC by 2.0)

What are baby pigeons called?

Baby Pigeons are referred to as squabs. This name is also shared with baby doves and chickens.

Where do pigeons nest?

Pigeons tend to nest in places that are completely out of the way. This usually means places like church towers, under bridges, chimneys, and abandoned buildings in towns and cities. Generally, we'll never see a pigeon's actual nest and, in turn, never see pigeon babies.

This tendency to nest up high comes instinctively from descending from rock doves. As the name suggests, rock doves usually nest on cliff edges and usually set back into the face to keep nests safe from any predators.

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