Yes, Virginia, There Really Are Baby Pigeons
In early May, a baby pigeon played peek-a-boo on my window ledge. This baby, not yet full-sized, huddled for hours on the window sill, peeping loudly in a tiny high voice.
Note the black eyes and scruffy feathers that indicate this is a young bird.
Every spring, I watch a brood or two of squabs learn to fly from a nest hidden between my building and the building next door. (To see an amusing video of the parents courting and copulating on my air conditioner in February, click here.) Although easy to mistake for an adult, this baby was still many days away from self-sufficiency. In fact, you won’t often see a baby this young down at street level. Still dependent on its parents for food and protection, it spent days practicing flying from its sixth-floor nest to nearby ledges and rooftops and back again.
Mom and Dad stopped by regularly to feed the baby or just to keep an eye on me and make sure I was behaving myself.
Note the red eye and smooth feathers of an adult bird.
After a few hours, the baby flapped awkwardly off to its hidden nest, just a few yards away. The babies are off on their own now, and I confess that after this last brood left, I finally decided to put up plastic pigeon spikes to keep future pigeon families from landing on my air conditioner. I’ll miss seeing them there, but I won’t miss waking just after dawn to the scratch and scrabble of claws on metal or the booming coos of courtship.
And anyway, they still visit the window ledge.
For more on the pigeons outside my window, visit the archives:2012, Birds, In the City, Seasons, Spring, Wildlife/Natural History comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.