Pigeons are common domestic birds that were used as navigators and messengers
from ancient times. Pigeons congregate in flocks around cities and create messes on rooftops, balconies with their droppings.
How does incubation take place?
Female pigeons sit on the saucer-like nest for a day or two before laying the white eggs. Usually, they lay two eggs on each breeding.
Unlike other birds, both male and female pigeons will participate in the incubation process. But female pigeons spend most of their time with eggs from mid-afternoon to mid-morning.
The incubation period takes about 18 days and eggs hatch the young pigeons known as “squabs” covered in yellow down.
Both parents feed the squabs with crop milk which is a thick liquid food regurgitated from the crops. For about 10 days, the squabs depend on crop milk-fed posts which they start to adopt adult food pigeons’ food habits.
Baby pigeons have light transparent skin with thin little feathers. They need attentive care and protection from their parents for at least two weeks.
Related Read: What do Baby Pigeons Eat?
Pigeons are the fastest-growing vertebrate species. The squabs become double in size in one and a half days. Their hearts start beating from the third day and they open their eyes on the fourth day from birth.
At the end of the two weeks, feathers start to emerge and by week three, squabs get a full flock of feathers.
At twenty-eight days, young pigeons fully grow to adult size with the tail and feathers. Squabs squeak and flap their wings to experiment with flying.
Do pigeons leave their babies?
Pigeons don’t leave their babies. The process of incubation of eggs involves both male and female parents. After the eggs hatch, parents don’t leave the chicks at all for the first few weeks.
Mothers hint during the day while fathers do so at night. The other parent keeps the chicks warm and guards them against predators.
As the birds grow up, parents will start taking short flights to find food for the chicks. This helps the chicks grow independent.
Why do we don’t see squabs outside?
Parent pigeons are overprotective, they keep squabs well guarded inside their nest.
To keep their babies safe from predators, parents build nests in nooks, ridges in trees, roofs, crannies, and under bridges.
It is because of the secluded locations and the heightened privacy, humans very rarely pot squabs outside.
When do baby pigeons leave the nest?
Baby pigeons flap their wings to practice how to fly around 5 weeks or 30 days old. At 35 days, their continuous practice paid off and they started to fly for a short distance.
At 42 days or six weeks old, young ones take their first flight journey as fully grown adult birds and then leave the nest, and feed themselves to survive.
Both mom and dad pigeons are active in whole incubation, feeding, and brooding training.
Baby pigeons stay safely inside the nests, parents do shifts to feed them, and until they reach 6 weeks old to fly for their own food.
With the constant motivation and support from parents, baby pigeons get matured enough to leave their parents’ nest, and join with their own age birds, and form their own flock.
For the rest of their life, pigeons will stay with their own flocks. Each flock operates differently from other flocks and stays in its own territory.
Baby pigeons will never join with their parent’s flock, they search and join with their own flocks.
How do I know when a pigeon baby is ready to leave the nest?
While breeding pigeons, it is important to understand when a chick is ready to leave the nest. The babies can’t be sent out of the nest when they are too young because they aren’t ready to defend themselves at this stage.
You can get an estimate based on how many days old the pigeon baby is but this count isn’t exact, only an approximation.
The first thing to keep in mind is that a pigeon baby, which is ready to fly out of the best very likely looks like an adult. It may still have some baby feathers but will have most of its adult feathers in place.
Their size, appearance, and their ability, and willingness to fly on their own should all play a role in their flight from the nest. If you are worried about a chick or unsure, a vet will be able to advise you regarding the matter.
What to do when a baby pigeon falls out of the nest?
If you find a baby pigeon that has fallen out of its nest, your first instinct might be to take it home and take care of it. This is not the best idea though.
A very young pigeon is sustained by the food supplied to it by its parents. This food is specially made for these babies and is full of all the essential nutrients needed for growth.
So, the best thing to do would be to gently pick the pigeon up and place it back in the nest if it is not injured. This will increase the chance of survival of the baby.
What dangers do baby pigeons face when they leave their parent’s nest?
Pigeons are pretty smart to learn all English alphabets and can even recognize themselves in a mirror.
Baby pigeons face lots of risks during their initial flight journeys. They have to protect themselves and fight with their predators’ cunningness to stay alive.
- Baby pigeons have to fight against their primary predators including man, snakes, and other large birds like hawks and falcons which primarily capture perching pigeons.
- They can easily become prey for nest predators including crows, raccoons, opossums, and owls.
- They will face problems in searching for food to survive.
- They will have to survive alone until they find their own flock and territory to live in.
The journey of a pigeon starts when it leaves its parent’s nest. Until it finds a flock for itself and starts adapting to the ways of its livelihood, it can always easily be found by its predators.
Where do baby pigeons go when they leave the nest?
Once a baby pigeon has grown up and learnt to fly, it is ready to leave the nest. The pigeon can now successfully defend itself and find its own food.
Pigeons this age first look for a flock to join. A flock provides mates and security and a pigeon stays with the same flock throughout its life.
Baby pigeons grow very fast. They hatch in 3 weeks and are ready to leave the nest in another 5 weeks or so.
These birds leave the nest to join other birds in a flock so that they can mate, build nests, procreate and have great lives!