Have You Ever Seen a Baby Pigeon?
What came first, the chicken or the egg? How do migrating birds navigate? How exactly did life on Earth begin? These are some of the questions about the natural world which you might have asked yourself. But there is another conundrum that you may or may not have contemplated. Given the huge number of pigeons that you see everywhere around the country, why don’t you ever see baby pigeons?
Where Are all the Baby Pigeons?
This does seem a bit odd doesn’t it? When you take a stroll in the park you will see baby ducks following their mother around. You hear baby birds chirping in the nesting box in your garden. But where are the little pigeons? There are pigeons in our cities, pigeons in our gardens and pigeons in the countryside and yet you never see any babies. Why?
Actually you will have seen baby pigeons but you simply wouldn’t have recognised the birds as being juveniles. This is because pigeons remain in their nest for a long time. Long enough for to no longer look like youngsters. The birds are almost the size of their parents when they fledge. After 40 days and more secreted in the nest, young pigeons simply don’t look like babies. You may have seen thousands of youngsters and not realised what you were looking at.
Pigeons are also very secretive in their nesting habits and will choose nesting sites which are very high. They go out of their way to keep their nests and babies away from prying eyes. For this reason, you are unlikely to stumble across a nest or hear the youngsters in a nest crying out for food.
The pigeons seem to appear as if by magic, fully grown and independent. However, if woodpigeons visit your garden, you can tell which of the birds are recent fledglings by looking at their necks. You will see a white flash on the necks of the baby birds.
Where Are all of the Baby Wild Birds?
The lack of baby pigeons isn’t actually so curious when you really think about it. After all, how many baby wild birds of any species do you ever see? Sure, you will see baby ducks and geese but that is because they live on the water and cannot be hidden away up high. Most ground nesting birds are woodland dwellers so you won’t see them in your garden or around town. Even if you did, wild birds don’t fledge until they are almost as big as their parents.
It turns out that pigeons are no different to other wild birds. Perhaps because they are so common or maybe because pigeons are large birds, the apparent absence of youngsters is more noticeable. So now you can return to contemplating more important questions such as what came first the baby or the egg?