The Fascinating Hidden Lives of Baby Pigeons in Urban Wildlife 2024

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Pigeons are a common sight in cities around the world. But while adults are everywhere, baby pigeons seem few and far between. So where do they hide? And what’s life like for a baby pigeon growing up in an urban jungle? This article takes an in-depth look at the family life of these backyard birds.

What Does A Baby Pigeon Look Like?

What Does A Baby Pigeon Look Like?
What Does A Baby Pigeon Look Like?

Baby pigeons are called squabs or squeakers. Here are some features to recognize them:

  • Size – Newly hatched squabs are about 3.5 cm long but proliferate. By two weeks they reach adult size, just with shorter tails.
  • Color – Squabs have yellow fuzzy down when first born. Their gray and brown adult plumage starts growing after 4-5 days.
  • Beak – Their beak is slightly shorter than an adult’s and takes a few weeks to reach full length.
  • Eyes – Babies are born with closed eyes that take 4-5 days to fully open. Their eyes are very dark at first before lightening up.
  • Legs – A squab’s legs appear oversized and uncoordinated at first. By 2 weeks they’re standing strongly and flapping wings.

How Big is a Baby Pigeon?

Newly hatched squabs weigh about 20 grams on average – similar to a golf ball! They reach adult size after about 4 weeks. Fully grown, pigeons weigh between 250-350 grams.

Why Don’t You See Baby Pigeons?

Pigeons cleverly hide their nests in covered nooks and crannies of buildings, bridges, and cliffs. Their well-camouflaged nests shelter squabs safely out of sight. Babies remain in the nest for up to 2 months as they grow, hidden away the whole time.

Once fledged, juvenile pigeons look just like adults, so they remain difficult to spot. Their gray coloration provides great urban camouflage. Pigeon parents continue to care for their young for several weeks after fledging too, keeping them well-fed and safe from harm.

Where Do Pigeons Build Their Nests?

Where Do Pigeons Build Their Nests
Where Do Pigeons Build Their Nests

Pigeons are resourceful when it comes to selecting a nesting site. They tend to nest on sheltered building ledges, inside church steeples, barn rafters, bridge underpasses, and even in the crannies of stone monuments.

The nest consists of a flimsy platform of straw, twigs, and feathers. Both the male and female pigeons will take turns gathering nesting material and arranging it [2].

The nest is re-used for multiple broods if it remains undisturbed. Good nest sites are in high demand and pigeons will aggressively defend their nest against others.

What Do Pigeon Eggs Look Like?

What Do Pigeon Eggs Look Like?
What Do Pigeon Eggs Look Like?

The female pigeon lays 1-2 white eggs that are oval-shaped and about 3 cm long. She will incubate the eggs for 18 days before they hatch].

Both parents take turns sitting on the eggs to keep them warm. They develop a special “crop milk” fluid in their throats that they regurgitate to feed their newly hatched chicks.

Table 1: Pigeon Egg Features

Size3 cm long
NumberUsually 2 eggs
Incubation18 days by both parents

How Do Pigeons Feed Their Babies?

Pigeons produce a special milk-like substance in their crop organ to feed newly hatched chicks. This nutrient-rich “crop milk” contains fat, protein, and immune factors to help squabs grow and fight disease.

Both parents produce crop milk to feed their chicks. Squabs insert their beak inside the parent’s beak to access the milk. After about 10 days, they transition to digesting seeds and regurgitated food from the parents.

What to feed a baby pigeon

baby pigeon

Baby pigeons (squabs) require specialized care and feeding to grow healthy and strong. For the first few days after hatching, the parents will feed the squab a substance called crop milk that is regurgitated from their crops.

After about 3-4 days, you can start introducing hand-feedings of a pigeon hand-feeding formula every 2-3 hours. The formula should consist of 1 part baby cereal mixed with 2 parts water or puppy formula. Be sure to only give a few drops at a time and let the baby swallow before giving more.

At around 2 weeks old, the squab will be ready for its first seeds. Good starter seeds include safflower, popped corn, millet, wheat, barley, and oats. Crush or soften the seeds at first to make them easier to digest. The amount of seed can be gradually increased as the squab gets older.

By 4-6 weeks, the baby should be able to eat the same diet as an adult pigeon. Provide a mix of pigeon feed and healthy supplements like greens, vegetables, fruits, and calcium/vitamin powder. Make sure fresh, clean water is always available. With patience and proper care, the squab will grow into a healthy juvenile pigeon.

What Do Baby Pigeons Eat?

In the nest, baby pigeons are fed “crop milk” – a nutritious substance produced in the parent’s crop. Crop milk contains proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, and immune cells to help the squabs grow.

Parents regurgitate crop milk directly into the begging chick’s mouth. By the second week, parents start supplementing with regurgitated seeds.

Once mobile, squabs remain near the nest where parents continue to feed them. By 3-4 weeks, young pigeons can digest normal adult food like peas, corn, and seed mixes.

Fledglings are initially clumsy at pecking up food themselves. But with practice, their foraging skills improve. By 6-8 weeks, juveniles can feed fully independently alongside their parents.

Baby Pigeon Care Finding and Observing

  • Why haven’t I seen a baby pigeon? Squabs spend most of their time tucked away in nests, usually on buildings or ledges. They venture out only after growing feathers and learning to fly.
  • Where can I see pictures of baby pigeons? A quick online search will reveal plenty of adorable photos! Remember, observing from afar is the best way to appreciate them in their natural habitat.
  • I found a baby pigeon, what should I do? If the squab seems healthy and alert, leave it alone. Its parents are likely nearby. If it’s injured or in immediate danger, gently place it in a cardboard box with holes and contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.

About Baby Pigeons:

  • What does a baby pigeon look like? Imagine a fluffy, grayish-brown chick with a pink beak and large, dark eyes. They’re quite cute!
  • What is a baby pigeon called? A baby pigeon is simply called a squab.
  • What do baby pigeons eat? Pigeons feed their squabs a special milk called “crop milk” produced in their crop. If you find an orphaned squab, never attempt to feed it yourself. Only trained wildlife rehabilitators have the expertise and resources to provide proper care.


  • Never keep a baby pigeon as a pet. It’s illegal and unethical to remove wildlife from their natural habitat. Additionally, proper care requires specialized knowledge and resources.
  • Respecting wildlife means appreciating them in their natural environment. Observe from a distance and never attempt to capture or keep them as pets.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure the well-being of baby pigeons and appreciate their role in the ecosystem. Remember, curiosity and respect go hand-in-hand when exploring the natural world!

Do Both Parents Care for a Baby Pigeon?

Do Both Parents Care for a Baby Pigeon?
Do Both Parents Care for a Baby Pigeon?

Yes, both the male and female pigeons play active roles in raising the young. The chicks are called “squabs” at this stage.

For the first week, the squabs are fed crop milk exclusively by both parents. Crop milk contains protein, fat, and immune cells to help the babies grow.

After a week, the parents gradually transition to feeding the squabs regurgitated seeds. By two weeks, the squabs can digest adult food [4].

The parents take turns brooding the chicks, keeping them warm in the nest. By 4-5 weeks, the squabs are fully feathered and ready to take their first flight from the nest.

Do Pigeons Mate for Life?

Do Pigeons Mate for Life?
Do Pigeons Mate for Life?

Pigeons form close pair bonds and mate for life. Both parents share parenting duties like sitting on the eggs, keeping them warm, feeding, and protecting the chicks after hatching. This division of labor improves the odds of raising healthy young.

Some fun courtship behaviors include male pigeons puffing up feathers, strutting, and bowing to potential mates. If a female accepts, the male feeds her beak-to-beak as a sign of bonding. The pair preens each other’s feathers and may peck gently at each other while cooing.

When Can Baby Pigeons Fly?

Baby pigeons take their first flight at 4-5 weeks old. At this age, they are fully feathered and ready to leave the nest. First flights are clumsy – pigeons flap their wings but can’t gain much height. After a week of practice under their parents’ supervision, their flying skills improve dramatically.

What do baby pigeons look like?

Bald and helpless at hatching, get fuzzy down by 1 week old, resemble miniature adults by 2 weeks old. Newly hatched baby pigeons are called squabs. They are born nearly featherless, covered only in sparse, downy fuzz. Their eyes are closed. Within a week, dark feathers start sprouting, first on the wings and back. After 2-3 weeks, squabs develop quickly and resemble adult pigeons, just less sleek with fluffier plumage. They reach full feathering after about 4 weeks.

How Long Do Baby Pigeons Stay with Their Parents?

Even after leaving the nest, pigeon offspring stick close to their parents for 2-3 weeks. The parents continue defending and feeding them until they are strong enough to survive solo. Juveniles gradually gain independence and become nutritionally self-sufficient around 6-8 weeks of age.

Key Takeaways About Baby Pigeons

  • Well-hidden nests keep baby pigeons out of sight
  • Squabs hatch featherless but develop quickly
  • Both parents produce crop milk to feed their chicks
  • Pigeons form monogamous bonds and share parenting
  • Young pigeons start flying at 4-5 weeks
  • Parents care for babies for 6-8 weeks before independence

Observing backyard pigeons reveals fascinating details about their family life. Pigeons exemplify devoted parenting and cooperation – quite the model urban family!

Conclusion: Baby pigeon

Pigeons expertly conceal their nests and young – that’s why we so rarely get a glimpse of baby pigeons. From courtship to chick rearing, pigeons demonstrate remarkable family bonds. Watching urban pigeons reveals their advanced parenting skills and continued success in raising chicks against the odds. Their mastery of city living certainly deserves more appreciation!

FAQ: About Baby Pigeons

Why do you never see baby pigeons?

Baby pigeons (squabs) spend their first 2 months of life hidden away in their nests. Their coloring helps them blend in snugly. After fledging, they look just like adults, so they remain difficult to spot even outside the nest.

Why are baby pigeons so rare?

We rarely see baby pigeons because parents completely conceal the nest to protect their vulnerable chicks. The well-camouflaged nests are tucked away in covered nooks and crannies. Babies don’t emerge until they can fly skillfully.

Where do baby pigeons live?

Baby pigeons live in compact nests built by their parents. Common nest locations include building ledges, bridge supports, crevices in cliffs or monuments, and tunnels. Nests provide shelter, warmth and safety while chicks develop.

How quickly do baby pigeons grow?

Baby pigeons develop rapidly. They are born featherless but begin sprouting feathers after just a week. Crop milk fuels their fast growth. After 2-4 weeks in the nest, they reach full adult size and near adult weight.

How long do baby pigeons rely on their parents?

Even after fledging at 4-5 weeks, baby pigeons depend on their parents for an additional 2-3 weeks. The parents continue to protect, feed, and train their young during this time. Pigeons reach full independence around 6-8 weeks of age.

How long do baby pigeons stay in the nest?

Baby pigeons, called squabs, remain in the nest for about 4 to 5 weeks before fledging. They are fed crop milk by both parents for the first 1-2 weeks until old enough to digest seeds and adult food. Once the squabs are fully feathered and strong enough, they will take their first flight from the nest.

What do you call a baby pigeon?

A baby pigeon is referred to as a squab or squeaker. “Squab” is the official term for a young domestic pigeon under 4 weeks old. “Squeaker” was originally a hunting term used for wild rock pigeons of a similar young age.

Do baby pigeons drink milk?

No, baby pigeons do not drink milk from their mother. Instead, both parents produce a special substance called crop milk that gets regurgitated to feed the chicks. Crop milk is generated in the crop organ in the parent’s neck and contains proteins, fats, and immune substances – a highly nutritious substance!

How to feed a baby pigeon?

Use a small syringe or dropper to give formula every 2-3 hours. Mix the formula with warm water and let cool. Gently open the beak and place drops in the back of the throat.

Do baby pigeons need human help to survive?

In most cases, human intervention is not required. Parent pigeons intentionally hide nests from predators, rarely venturing out with vulnerable chicks in tow. If you find healthy squabs in an undisturbed nest, parents are likely caring for them nearby. Only if chicks seem emaciated or abandoned is rehabilitation needed.

At what age can baby pigeons fly?

Young pigeons take their first flight at the fledgling stage which is normally 4-5 weeks old. They flap vigorously to get airborne and can fly reasonably well. But their flight skills, stamina, and maneuverability will continue improving with practice over the next few months.

What do I do with an injured baby pigeon?

First, contain the chick gently with a towel and place it in a ventilated box. Keep the baby warm by positioning half the box on a heating pad. Do not give water/food. Then contact a wildlife rehabilitation center or avian vet immediately. Getting expert care fast is crucial for the injured pigeon’s survival.

Do baby pigeons sleep in the nest?

Yes, like most birds, baby pigeons sleep in the nest alongside their parents or alone once the parents are away foraging. Newborns sleep almost continuously, becoming more alert as they age. By two weeks old, squabs only sleep intermittently around the clock. Sleep is critical for squabs to conserve energy and grow.

How can you tell the age of a baby pigeon?

Some clues to identify a pigeon’s age:

  • New hatchlings: 3.5cm long, covered in yellow fuzzy down
  • 5-7 days old: gray plumage starts sprouting
  • 2 weeks old: fully feathered, adult-sized, uncoordinated movements
  • 3-4 weeks old: strong perching, flapping, and wing coordination
  • 4-5 weeks old: leaves the nest for the first flight

Do baby pigeons play with toys?

No, pigeons do not play with toys in the wild. Providing novel objects like mirrors or balls to captive squabs does not stimulate play behavior. Pigeons focus their energy on survival-driven behaviors. However, pigeon parents do “play” with their chicks by giving wing slaps and gentle pecks to encourage movement and coordination.

When do pigeons fledge the nest?

Pigeons normally fledge at 4-5 weeks old. This means the squabs take their first flight out of the nest at this age. Fledging requires strong wings, feathers, and leg muscles to launch and fly. The parents continue to care for the juveniles for 2-3 more weeks as their flight skills improve with practice.

What should I feed a baby pigeon?

Provide a specialized diet – crop milk from parents, then hand-feeding formula of cereal and water/puppy formula. Gradually introduce seeds like safflower, corn, and millet.

How can I tell a baby pigeon’s age?

Check feathering – newborns are nearly bald, get pinfeathers at 5-7 days, fully feathered by 2 weeks. Observe the ability to stand, eat, and fly.

Why don’t we see baby pigeons?

Babies (squabs) can’t fly for a month and stay hidden in nests. Only visible once they fledge.

How to care for a baby pigeon?

Keep warm, hydrated, fed every 2-3 hours. Transition from formula to seeds. Get vet advice if needed. Release when it can fly/feed itself.

What if I find a baby pigeon?

Try to return to the nest if possible. Otherwise, make a substitute nest, and care for it. Release when grown.

What’s a baby pigeon called?

Squab, nestling, or squeaker.

How long until a baby pigeon can fly?

Fledge at 4-5 weeks old. First flights are clumsy but skills improve quickly. Independent by 6 weeks.

How long do they stay in the nest?

About 1 month until they can fly and leave the nest.

Should I touch a baby pigeon?

Best not to unless ill/injured. The human scent could deter parents from caring for it.

Can baby pigeons drink water?

Yes, they need hydration. Use a dropper if still being handfed.

Do baby pigeons make noise?

Yes, they squeak or grunt to get parents’ attention.

How often do baby pigeons eat?

Every 2-3 hours until 2-3 weeks old. Then approx every 4-6 hours.

What temperature do baby pigeons need?

The ideal is 85-90F for the first week, reduced to 80F after feathers grow in.

Can I raise an orphaned pigeon?

Yes, with proper diet, housing, and care. Get advice from an avian vet.

When can baby pigeons eat seeds?

Around 2 weeks old they can start eating small seeds. Increase gradually.

How do I warm a baby pigeon?

Use a heating pad, hot water bottle, or infrared lamp. Monitor temperature carefully.

Young pigeon called?

A young pigeon is called a squab or nestling

About the Author: Hudaibia

My name is Hudaibia with the profound passion for our feathered friends. Birds have captivated my heart and mind since childhood. Now I share my avian devotion through my website,