Smidgen’s Fun Facts About Pigeons

Here are some fun facts about pigeons you may not have known

1. Pigeons Are VERY FAST Flyers!

Did you know that pigeons can fly faster than 90 miles per hour? That’s faster than most cars go! Pigeons often fly for long distances at a steady speed of 60 miles per hour! That is how fast cars travel on a highway!

2. Pigeons are very intelligent animals! Pigeons are one of the only birds that can recognize themselves.

This is an unusual quality that sets pigeons apart from most other birds on earth. Research with pigeons shows that pigeons are able to identify themselves over a photo of another pigeon in a mirror test. Pigeons can recognize themselves better than three-year old children! What is even cooler is that pigeons are also able to tell the difference between humans when looking at photos.

3. They are Incredibly Social

Unlike some other bird species, you will usually see pigeons living in groups, which can range from 20 to 30 birds. That’s because pigeons love to be social and interact.

4. Pigeons like People

If you keep pigeons as pets, you’ll likely notice that they like to be around you and will tolerate being held and touched much better than other birds that people commonly keep as pets. It is good advice to not try to capture wild pigeons, because you don’t want to disrupt their natural habitat.

5. Pigeons Choose a Partner for Life

In most cases, a pigeon will choose a partner for life. They’ll choose their mate and continue to have a large family together over the course of their lifespan. Once they choose a partner, pigeons will stay with only the pigeon that they’ve chosen.

6. Both parents share responsibility for their babies

Both the mother and the father guard the nest and keep an egg warm until it hatches. Usually, a mommy pigeon will keep the eggs warm from midafternoon, through the night and to mid-morning. A daddy pigeon will take his turn keeping the egg(s) warm from mid-morning to midafternoon. The mommy pigeon will go looking for food and have a rest. Once the babies hatch, both parents will care for them.

7. Pigeon Parents Both Feed Their Babies

Both pigeon parents feed the babies and offer a mixture called “crop milk.” This is a partially regurgitated combination of the things that the mother and father eat and is delivered straight into the baby pigeon’s mouth.

8. Baby Pigeons Hide in their Nest Unlike Other Birds

Baby pigeons often stay in their nest for up to six weeks. They’re almost nearly fully grown and look like adult pigeons.

9. Pigeons Aren’t That Dirty

Many people living in the city dwellers say that pigeons are dirty animals and that they spread disease. Ornithologists, (which are experts on birds), tell us that is NOT true. Ornithologists say that pigeons are very clean and there’s not much research saying that pigeons can spread any kind of diseases.

10. Pigeon Poop (also called “guano”) Was Once Guarded and Valued

You probably never would have imagined that guano was once something people collected! Pigeon coops (cages) were guarded so that no one would steal the pigeon poop! The guano was used for crop fertilizer.

11. Celebrity Pigeon Fanciers

Pigeons aren’t only interesting to ornithologists and religious individuals. Many celebrities and famous people have an interest in pigeons as well.

The British Royal Family, including Queen Elizabeth II, keep pigeons on the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, Elvis Presley loved pigeons when he was alive and Mike Tyson keeps several pigeons as pets.

Maurizio Gucci, the famous designer, also keeps pigeons and spent $10,000 on one American pigeon.

Paul Newman and Joanna Woodward have been reported to love pigeons, though they aren’t as outspoken about it as other famous people.

12. Some Pigeons Have Gone Extinct

Passenger pigeons went extinct in North America only at the beginning of the 20th century.

At the time, experts estimate that between three and five billion passenger pigeons had lived in the continent, but they were completely wiped out by hunters.

The Revive & Restore Project is an attempt to bring back the passenger pigeon.

13. They Can Make Sea Rescues

Because pigeons are so intelligent and have such good eyesight, they have also been trained to help rescue people lost at sea.

They are taught to look for red or yellow life jackets so they can notify rescuers where to go to pick up the person.

In addition to seeing red and yellow so well, pigeons can also pick up ultraviolet light surrounding a person in the water, which some experts say makes them more reliable than humans when it comes to making sea rescues.

14. Man is a Pigeon’s Main Predator

You might be surprised to learn that humans are the biggest threat to pigeon populations. That’s due to widespread control measures to keep the number of pigeons under control in urban areas.

As you read above, hunting pigeons can also wipe them out. In terms of natural predators, however, the peregrine falcon is the biggest threat to pigeons in the wild.

Peregrine falcons can fly more than 100 miles per hour faster than a pigeon and they are adept at hunting them in rural areas and along rocky coastlines, which experts say provides natural population control.

15. Pigeons are Good at Hiding Their Nests

Unlike other bird species, pigeon nests are not usually built in trees. Instead, they create them on flat rooftops, sheltered areas in urban areas and in rocky areas in rural areas.

For this reason, you’ve probably never seen a pigeon nest.

They are usually built from twigs and sticks and aren’t very sturdy at the beginning.

But, since pigeons use the same nest for many broods of babies, the droppings of the babies and parents tend to build up and harden inside the nest, creating a hard shell that keeps the nest intact for quite some time.

16. They Can Be Very Small or Much Larger

One of the most fascinating things about pigeons is the variation in size, with the small ones weighing less than an ounce and the larger ones weighing nearly 10 pounds.

Pigeons also range in length from 5 inches to 19 inches. The smaller ones aren’t necessarily babies and size is determined by many factors, genetics being one of the main ones.

17. Pigeons Can Learn the Alphabet

You already know that pigeons are smart animals, but you might know that they can learn the alphabet.

This comes in handy when using pigeons to transmit messages and may help them navigate their way home from a place hundreds of miles away.

Sue Nichols is a friend of the Dreaming of a Chance pigeon sanctuary in Pleasant Valley, New York. The sanctuary’s mission is to educate the community about pigeon abandonment and providing safe place for abandoned pigeons—as well as other feathery friends—who would otherwise not survive in the wild.

For more information about Dreaming of a Chance, visit their website https://dreamingofachance.com/. The photos above have been provided by Tiffany, Director of Dreaming of Chance.

The information above was pulled from: 25 Amazing Facts About Pigeons – Pigeonpedia and Amazing Facts about Pigeons | OneKindPlanet Animal Education & Facts.