Pigeons are birds that live in wild as well as in cities. These innocent birds can be kept as pets and used in racing too. They have a strange Lifecycle that makes them different from other birds.
The lifecycle of pigeons starts from eggs. After hatching, they live in nests. Within 4-6 weeks baby pigeons can fly. In 6-8 months, they choose a partner and do mating. When squabs are born parents take care of them and feed them till maturity. Their average life span is about 3-10 years.
This is just a short overview to give you an idea. Their life is so interesting. In this article, I will tell you their strange way of living, the behavior where they live, why we don’t see baby pigeons, facts, and the whole process of their life cycle.
Life cycle of pigeons
I will start details from the time when they mate.
Choosing the partner:
The first step is choosing the partners. Male reaches the maturity age at 4 months while female may take 2 months more. When the male likes a female. He went to her. Lift his chest upwards and try to impress her.
If a female doesn’t like her she will reject him. The sign of rejection she shows is flying away or shifting her position away from the male. But If the female shows her interest. Their bond will develop.
At first, both do kiss. Female may offer food to the male. I saw the whole scenario in the evening. As they are now partners now they can do mating. This process is too short, maybe take up to 5 seconds.
The main thing is that both pigeons after mating for life. But what if another partner dies? If one pigeon dies others will go for a search for another one. Female takes more time to search new bond than the male.
The next step after mating is making a nest where females can lay eggs. They choose the location for making nests. Pigeons are not good at making nests. Their nesting material consists of twigs, leaf dry straw, and paper-like items.
Their nests are not so classic as other birds. They make nests in trees. If they are living in cities then their main hot spots are balconies, under the bridge, under solar panels, and on the roofs.
Both partners sit on the nest. If a female refuses to sit, a male peck her to sit on.
Laying the eggs
You may be wondering, why the population of pigeons is increasing day by day. It is due to their laying eggs behavior. After 8-12 days of mating, the female lays 1-3 eggs. The average is two mostly.
One egg has male and the other has female. The color of the egg is white.
Sometimes even after the mating, pigeons don’t lay eggs. If lay eggs the egg cannot have the ability to hatch. It is due to one of the partners is infertile. If you have pigeons at home. changing the partner may solve the problem. If still there is a problem then your bird is not getting the right food.
How many times a year do pigeons lay eggs? Pigeons can lay up to 16 eggs a year. It depends upon the breeding, temperature, and season. They lay more eggs in spring and autumn than the rest of the year.
Incubation Period :
Eggs require an optimum temperature of 36-38 C temperature for hatching. This period is very important. At this time both parents look after the eggs.
Do you know? Male pigeons also sit on the eggs
Both take responsibility. When one partner sits on the nest the other takes a rest and goes for in search of food.
Sometimes pigeon not sits on the egg and abandoned it. It is because this bird has the instinct of knowing that the egg is fertile or not. If the egg is infertile, they will skip it. There are chances that the predator is around about and for saving his life, he is not sitting on it.
It takes about 16-21 days for eggs to be hatched. The period depends upon the conditions such as temperature, humidity, and type of pigeon species. Pigeons lay two eggs. It takes about 1 day for the second eggs to be hatched.
If the egg is not hatched in a given period. Then there are chances the egg is infertile or it didn’t get the optimum conditions required for embryo growth. You can check fertility by passing light in the dark. If you see a cluster of veins, the egg is fertile. If not, throw it away.
Baby pigeon life cycle:
Both parents are very careful with their babies. Before the time of hatching, a few days before, both pigeons start producing milk in their crops. This is not normal milk like mammals. Can you drink it? You can see this milk’s details here.
In the first few days, baby pigeons cannot digest any hard food. Adult parents feed them their crop milk. It is so nutritious that it turns the baby into an adult in just 40-45 days.
On the day 5th, the baby bird opens his eyes. He didn’t leave the nest until he can fly (about 1 month). I have already covered the baby pigeon growth with pictures. For full details read here
In 4-6 weeks they are ready to fly out. As time passes, they will leave the nest and fly into cities and their lifestyle continues.
What do pigeons do after raising kids? When the baby pigeons fly out, they breed again and lay a new egg. This process continues until their death.
Lifespan of Pigeon
Pigeons have a life span of 10 years on average. Wild pigeons tend to live shorter than pet ones. They live about 5 years on average due to harsh conditions they have to face out in the wild.
Pet pigeons if properly cared for, can live up to 10-15 years on average. I know some pigeons live longer than 20 years. All you have to do is to provide the best fothemoptimum conditions required for their survival.
Pigeons are the birds that love to eat seeds but some species are living in the wild that can eat fruits too like parrots. They can also eat insects and leaves too.
There are certain types of grains and seeds on which they feed such as wheat, millets, sunflower seeds, corn, rice, etc. There is no harm in feeding them rice, they are not going to explode.
Factors affecting pigeons life cycle
Some factors affect the pigeon’s life cycle and his life expectancy
Predators and Human interference
The increasing population is still controlled by predators. They have more predators in the wild than in the cities. Falcon, dogs, cats, and Hawks, etc are their main predators in the cities. Hawks target pigeons more but they are far less than their population \.
Due to their increasing number, they are referred to as flying rats. Various pest control companies give their services for controlling their population. People just want to get rid of their poops otherwise they are very calm and cute birds. Some diseases also spread through them.
Killing the bird is against animals law. If you want to get rid of pigeons, you can use repellents and traps. Traps are easy and the best way to catch them. Here are the best and effective pigeon traps you can use.
Temperature plays an important role. Their breeding season is spring and autumn. AT this time their population grows at a higher rate. It is because the temperature is optimum for the survival of the baby pigeons.
In winter baby pigeons also knowns as squabs spend almost 45 days in the nest because of slower growth and weather conditions. Too high or too low temperature slow down their growth rate.
If you have a pet pigeon you need to keep him at room temperature. Squabs need a 36-38 C temperature. If they didn’t get that temperature their chances of survival reduces.
Pigeons are very smart. They know how much food is on the ground and how many pigeons can fill their stomach.
In an experiment when food was placed on the floor for pigeons. An only a limited number of pigeons came to eat. AT the same place when the amount of food is doubled the number of pigeons also doubled. They are very intelligent birds.
Feral Pigeons came to the cities because they find food easily as people give them to. They learn to survive in cities more than in the wild. More the food, more are the pigeons.
Rice, bread, kernels, popcorn, insects, worms, sunflower seeds, and anything that they feed on is available in the cities. In the countryside, they are considered pests of rice. They love the rice to eat. Food controls their population and their survival rate.
Where they Live?
In cities, they are everywhere. They usually make their nests on the roofs, under the bridges, on the balcony, in abandoned buildings, and also in the lifts. are not experts in making nests but enough to live in. They live in trees.
Pigeons mostly look for the higher places to live and the area where they stay away from predators. They remain in a particular area. They look for places where water and food are available.
Why don’t we see baby pigeons?
As I told you earlier, squabs don’t leave the nest until they can fly. It takes 4-6 weeks depending on the season. They grow too quickly that we cannot differentiate between an adult and squab at this age.
When baby pigeons leave the nest. They are almost equal to adults in size. They are always present around. Eating food and flying.AS it is hard to know their age, so we see baby pigeons but don’t differentiate.
Where do pigeons go at night? Pigeons return to their nests at night. Like other creatures, they need rest too. They return home for sleep and rest. don’t think so that they are government spies.
Life cycle of a pet pigeon
Pigeons are the most underrated pets. They are very cute and loyal. There are many pros and cons of pigeons as pets but the pros are more than their cons. Here you know the Pros and Cons.
Pet pigeons have a different life cycle than pigeons in the wild. Squabs that are trained earlier in their life perform better as pets.
Hatching in an incubater
Eggs hatched in an incubator need proper attention. It requires proper care which includes maintaining the heat level and humidity. They can hatch in a homemade incubator too which consists of a box, a bulb, and cotton.
Caring of baby pigeon by humans
Crop milk is very nutritious for the squab. If he didn’t get it he will die. It is very difficult for the baby pigeon to survive in human hands especially for the newbies. There is special treatment and caring required which can save his life.
Those who are experts feed the mixture of certain foods which make a nutritious food equals to pigeons’ milk. This mixture saves his life. I have already written a special article for baby pigeon’s caring that surely can save his life.
Pigeons can get diseases in their lifetime which is one of the main causes of their death. Sometimes they are bitten by mosquitoes and parasites get involved in their sickness and sometimes digestive problems.
Pigeons show laziness and don’t eat many. Diseases also affect their life cycle
Where do pigeons go to die? Pigeons stay away from the public. They die in isolation. Their remains are eaten by predators. If they are out of reach of anyone, their dead body goes bad spoil.
Facts about pigeons
Mirror test: Pigeons are one of the most intelligent birds that can recognize their face in the mirror. In birds they are only one who has this ability. one research shows that they can recognize all the letters of the engish language.
Return to home: They use the magnetic field of the earth to return to the area where they live. That’s why in the past they are used as the messenger and used in wars for saving the lives of many soldiers.
Remain in a specific area: When placed a chip on their body to study their behavior, it was found that they don’t go too far from their home. They have specific areas where they fly and eat.
Easy to tame: Pigeons can befriend humans very easily. They can sit on your hands if you properly feed them. For taming them, feed them on the floor for the first few days, after that open your hand having grains. They will come to you, eat from your hand. As soon trust is developed, they will feel safe in your company and befriend you.
Differentiate between photographs: They can easily recognize two different characters in a picture and have the ability to differentiate between photographs.
Fast flying: Pigeons can fly at a very faster rate. They can fly up to 77 mph on average. The fastest pigeon has a record of 98 miles per hour in a race. They can fly 600 to 700 miles and the longest flight was recorded is 7000 miles which were held between England and Africa.
They can fly at an altitude of 6000 feet.
They are one of the most loyal birds that mate for life with their partner.
Social: Pigeons are very social birds. you will always see them in flocks. They even got loyal to humans
Can recognize humans: An experiment was done in which one person has to feed the pigeons and another will fly them away. This was done for few days. PIgeons from far recognize their well-wisher and enemy.
They come closer to the man who feeds them and flies away when they saw the man who disturbs them,
Both parents care: Male pigeons also produce crop milk and feed their babies like females. They also sot on the eggs and take proper care of the squab and eggs as females do.
They are one of the clean birds out there. In the past, their poopings were used as fertilizers. These days, they are hated for their pooopings
Pigeons are eaten in most parts of the world.
Pigeons hatched from the egg, stay there for 4-6 weeks depending on the season and breed. Parents care for them and feed them food. When they leave the nest, they search for their food. After that look for the mate and lay eggs.
This lifecycle of pigeons repeats over and over the generations.