Head into any city square and it will no doubt be filled with hundreds of head-bobbing pigeons. But despite their strong numbers, you rarely (if ever) see their chicks. бThey are like a modern-day urban unicorn, albeit slightly less majestic and a little moreбgrubby. Fortunately, there are some simple explanations to this dilemma. First of all, the pigeons you come across eating leftover pizza in the streets are most likely feral pigeons
). This subspecies of bird was originally bred from the wild rock doves that roost and breed among sea cliffs and rocky mountain crevasses aroundб Europe, North Africa, and western Asia. Although this subspeciesБ home is now a busy metropolis instead of a rocky coastline, they still tend to nest in the high-up edges and cavities of buildings. БOnly if you can see into a nest would you be likely to see baby pigeons,Б Debra Kriensky, a conservation biologist with NYC Audubon Society, explained to IFLScience.
БBy the time they leave the nest, they are already quite large and resemble adult birds more than they do chicks. Б ItБs also worth considering that pigeon chicks fledge (leave the nest) within just 25 to 32 days. So, unless you catch them in this brief period at the top of a building, then youБre unlikely to see them. A baby rock dove. Cute. Kind of. б (CC BY 2. 0) БPigeons are born naked and need to grow feathers before they can leave the nest,Б addedб Martin Fowlie of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). БThey remain in their nests until they are able to fly like other nest building species. Б Unless you are viewing the baby pigeonб from a window, balcony, or another elevated vantage point, itБs probably not good news if you see one.
It is often a sign that something isn\’t right. БWe do see a fair amount of babies that fall out of the nest before they are big enough to fly and fend for themselves,Б Kriensky said. БIn those cases, chicks should be returned to their nest, a makeshift nest nearby if possible, or brought to a wildlife rehabilitator. Б This story is brought to you by BirdNote, a show that airs daily on public radio stations nationwide. Every spring, down-covered mallard ducklings follow their mother across a pond. Goslings graze along side their Canada Geese parents in waterfront parks. Baby chickens peck the ground soon after hatching. But why do we never see baby pigeons? Some baby birds like those down-covered ducks, geese, and chickens leave their nest shortly after hatching and do a lot of growing up while following their parents around.
Others, like pigeons, stay in the nest and depend on their parents to feed and protect them, well into their youth. When young Rock Pigeons finally leave the nest, they are full sized with adult feathers, and they look like their parents. So unless you look carefully under a city bridge, you aren t likely to ever see a baby pigeon. It s easy to imagine, when hearing soft cooing sounds like these, why baby pigeons would rather stay in the nest. But the reason is they wait to fledge until they are nearly independent and the task of getting on with life is a bit easier. To download this podcast, go to. Calls of Rock Pigeons provided by: at the, Ithaca, New York. Sound recordist: A. L. Priori. Producer: John Kessler. Executive Producer: Chris Peterson. Narrator: Michael Stein Written by Frances Wood 2015 Tune In to Nature. org March 2015 Narrator: Michael Stein