Pigeons are some of the most common flying birds you find around. You find them on the streets, in your yard, and almost everywhere. Apart from Antarctica, pigeons can be found on all the continents.
There are so many interesting facts about this our avian friends, and one of these facts is that they mate for life. A pigeon will mate with only one pigeon all its life. They tend to cuddle and have romantic courtships too. Little wonder we call two people in love – lovebirds.
Today, we will look at pigeons and some interesting facts about them.
Read also: What Do Pigeons Eat – What is Pigeons Favorite Food? (What Not To Feed Your Pigeons)
Interesting Facts About Pigeons
We see pigeons everywhere, and sometimes, we overlook them, but there are s many amazing facts about these birds that are worth knowing. Here are a few fun facts about pigeons:
1. Pigeons Can Recognize Themselves
Pigeons can distinguish themselves from other pigeons if shown a mirror. A study found that a pigeon’s self-cognitive ability is superior to 3-year children. Pigeons can also differentiate from humans when looking at photos.
2. They Vary Greatly In Size
One of the astonishing facts about pigeons is that their size variation is significant. Small pigeons can weigh about an ounce, while larger ones can weigh almost 10 pounds.
3. Pigeons are Very Fast
Pigeons are very fast-flying birds. The fastest pigeon on record flew at 92.5 miles per hour, though the sustained velocity of a pigeon in flight is 60mph.
4. They Can Help Tell the Weather
A Pigeon is a meteorologist because they can detect changes in the atmospheric condition, which humans can’t decipher themselves. That is because they have much better hearing than humans and can hear sounds of very low frequencies that we cannot. It is why pigeons can detect storms in the distance that even meteorologists with all their radars might still need to pick.
5. Pigeons are Social Birds
It is rare to find birds who live in groups, but pigeons are an exception to the rule. You can find pigeons living in groups of 20 to 30 birds.
6. They Make Good Pet
Pigeons make good pets because they like to be around people and will not mind being held and touched, unlike most other birds that people commonly keep as pets.
7. Pigeons Are Monogamous
Pigeons are some of the most “faithful” animal species on earth. They will choose one mate and continue to produce several broods together throughout their lifespan. When they choose their mate and mate, they build their nests together and will raise their young together too.
8. Both Parent’s Pigeons Incubate The Eggs
Both the mother and the father pigeons take turns incubating the eggs, unlike other species of birds. Usually, the mother pigeon will sit on the eggs from mid-afternoon through the night and to mid-morning. The father will continue from mid-morning to mid-afternoon when the mother pigeon can look for food and rest. Both parents also feed and take care of their newborn.
9. Pigeons Can Be Part of a Large Communication System
Before the advent of our robust technological means of communication, pigeons were used as part of communication systems in the world. They were used as messengers as far back as the 5th century AD. Until 2004, there were still pigeons posts where pigeons were taught to deliver messages.
10. Some Celebrities Keep Pigeons
It is not only ornithologists that find pigeons captivating. Many celebrities and high-profile individuals love pigeons and keep them as pets. For instance, the British Royal Family keeps pigeons on the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk. Elvis Presley, Mike Tyson, Maurizio Gucci, Paul Newman, and Joanna Woodward are notable personalities who keep pigeons as pets.
The Mating Habits Of Pigeons
Since pigeons are social birds, it is easy to find their mates from their flock, unlike solitary birds searching for theirs.
Pigeons reach mating age when they are about six months of age, and to find a mate, the male pigeon dances before a female he finds attractive, and this dance involves head nods, and tail shakes.
If the female pigeon is interested in the dude, she will nod back and come closer, and they both seal the date with a kiss by rubbing their beaks together.
If this first date is a love match, they mate right away. It is so because the average lifespan of a wild pigeon is about five years, so they don’t waste time making a family.
They start by building a nest, and the male and female pigeons build the nest on either a tree or ledges out of sticks, leaves, and feathers. When the time comes for the female to lay her eggs, they will increase the size of the nest.
On average, a pair of pigeons will produce from 16 to 50 offspring yearly. But pigeons lay 1 or 2 eggs each time they mate, and after 18 days of incubation, the pigeon chicks or squabs hatch. Baby pigeons feed on their parent’s crop milk, a liquid produced in a pouch at the front of the bird’s neck.
After five weeks, the little pigeons are excellent and ready to leave the nest. Now, males will teach all the life skills they need to live independently, especially how to find food.
Do Pigeons Mate For Life
Yes, indeed, Pigeons mate for life. That means that one pair of pigeons will continue to have offspring together as long as both live in a monogamous relationship. The reason why pigeons have this character is because both parents incubate the eggs the mother pigeon lays. That means both parents will always be around for the eggs to hatch.
Another plausible explanation why pigeons mate for life might be due to the need for foraging for food for their offspring. It is so much done because when one of the parents is incubating the eggs, the other parent can hunt and forage for food.
The fact that both the male and female pigeons can feed their young is another good reason why two parent pigeon will remain monogamous and mate for life, unlike most animals in which the mother bear the brunt of feeding their newborn.
Two pigeons are better at protecting and defending their nest and young ones than one parent will be able to defend the nest while the other incubates the eggs, especially as the eggs must be constantly kept warm or the egg may die.
Do Pigeons Ever Mate With Other Pigeons Other Than Their Mate
We have already established that pigeons are monogamous and will only mate with one pigeon. But I can’t help but ask – does it mean a pigeon will never mate with anyone other than its mate?
The answer is – No. Pigeons can mate with other pigeons under certain conditions, one of which is when their mate dies. If one partner dies, the pigeon will likely take another partner, but like with humans, who mourn their spouses for a long time and then slowly goes back to everyday life. Even when the mourning period for a pigeon is over, it still takes time to pursue a new partner, and they don’t do this with the same zest and vigor as when they were going after their first partner.
Once in a while, a pigeon might mate with another mate, especially when its partner is not around due to migration or when it is out searching for feed. In this situation, If a male finds an unattached female, it may mate with her, but it won’t bond with this pigeon like it would with its primary partner.
Now if the female pigeon goes back to its original partner, and when she has the offspring, and the male feels the squabs aren’t his, he might bring less food back to the nest, reducing the amount of crop milk available for the young.
Pigeons are very likable birds. They are everywhere around us, in our backyard, in the street, and as pets for many people, especially celebrities. These birds are very peculiar animals with very lovable traits and behavior, and one of such characteristics is that they mate for life.
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Pigeons are monogamous, mating basically with one partner all through their life, incubating the egg by turn, and caring for and feeding their offspring in turns.
However, when their primary partner dies or migrates to another place, the pigeon might mate with other pigeons. Recommended: Best Way to Catch a Wild Bird in Your Backyard
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