AMAZING FACTS ABOUT PIGEONS
Feral pigeons find the ledges of buildings to be a substitute for sea cliffs, have become adapted to urban life, and are abundant in towns and cities throughout much of the world.
- Pigeons are found to some extent in nearly all urban areas around the world. It is estimated that there are 400 million pigeons worldwide and that the population is growing rapidly together with increased urbanization.
- Pigeons have been known to live over 30 years.
- Pigeons are highly dependent on humans to provide them with food and sites for roosting, loafing, and nesting. They are commonly found around farm yards, grain elevators, feed mills, parks, city buildings, bridges, and other structures, although they can live anywhere where they have adequate access to food, water and shelter.
- Unless forcibly separated, pigeons in a natural environment generally mate for life.
- Pigeons feed in flocks and will consume seeds, fruits and rarely invertebrates, although can subsist just fine on street scraps.
- Pigeons require about 1 ounce (30 ml) of water daily. They rely mostly on free-standing water but they can also use snow to obtain water.
- The average pigeon requires 30 grams of dry matter per day, roughly 10% of their body weight.
- Pigeons are monogamous and typically mate for life.
- A grown pigeon has nearly 10,000 feathers.
- Pigeons build a flimsy platform nest of straw and sticks, put on ledge, under cover, often located on the window ledges of buildings.
- The male provides nesting material and guards the female and the nest.
- The young are fed pigeon milk, a liquid/solid substance secreted in the crop of the adult (both male and female) which is regurgitated.
- Pigeons have been taught to use ‘tools’ and were found to retain that knowledge.
- Breeding may occur at all seasons, but peak reproduction occurs in the spring and fall. A population of pigeons usually consists of equal numbers of males and females. When populations suddenly decrease, pigeon production increases and will soon replenish the flock.
- Male pigeons have the rare ability to produce a kind of milk for the babies just like the females do, albeit this is not like dairy milk since it is produced from the crop.
- With the ability to beat its wings up to ten times per second, and maintain a heart rate of 600 beats per minute for up to 16-hours without rest, the racing pigeon is the unequalled athlete of the air.
- The French, Swiss, Israeli, Iraqi and Chinese armies still use homing pigeons today. Pigeons proved valuable in the Gulf War, as their messaging was not affected by electronic jamming.