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:

Sex and the City Bird
Sex and the Pigeon

The Pigeons Outside my Window

Urban Fledglings

Explore posts in the same categories: 2012, Birds, In the City, Seasons, Spring, Wildlife/Natural History

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4 Comments on “Yes, Virginia, There Really Are Baby Pigeons”

  1. Glad you’re back Melissa. I remember watching a pair of doves raise their broods from year to year on the porch of my parents’ house. They’re not known for being strong nest builders, and it was so funny to see them at work. The male (I’m guessing? Or maybe just assigning my human experience to the birds.) would bring nest material for the female to use and then perch by her as she worked. Then she would unknowingly poke him in the rear with it as she tried to work it into the nest. It was comical!

    • Thanks so much, Kelly. You’re right about doves & pigeons not being fancy nest-builders. A few twigs often suffices. And in my experience watching the pigeons outside my window, it is indeed the male who brings twigs for the female. I have gotten to know a pair of pigeons well, and since they frequently courted and copulated on my air conditioner, I was easily able to determine which was the male. And he was the one who brought twigs to the nest (just out of my view) for the waiting female to arrange. They are really enjoyable birds to watch, and I agree that their behavior can be very amusing!

  2. Your title caught me off guard. First of all, my name is Virginia. I’m used to the yes, Virginia thing, but when you said there really are baby pigeons, It took me back over twenty five years. My ex-husband always thought it funny to answer, whenever anyone asked if there were any questions, to answer. “Why don’t we ever see baby pigeons?
    Did he ask you?

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