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Feral Pigeons

If you live in a city or large town then you will know that there are pigeons everywhere. Huge numbers gather on the ground, particularly around tourist attractions looking for easy food sources. Some are worse for wear with missing legs and raggedy feathers but it is rare to see a baby pigeon, or squab, among these vast flocks.

There are a couple of reasons why spotting a baby pigeon is unusual.

The feral pigeons that dwell in cities are derived from domestic pigeons that have returned to the wild. They are incredibly adaptable and populate virtually every corner of the globe except the Sahara desert and the two ice caps and have thrived in towns and cities.

Domestic pigeons are in turn bred from rock doves that in the wild build their nests high up on cliff faces or in caves. Of course there are no cliffs in cities so feral pigeons have had to improvise and build their nests against the sides of tall buildings, in chimneys and old churches and under bridges, which makes them hard to spot.

Squabs don’t fledge until about 6 weeks when they are nearly the same size as their parents, so unless you know what you are looking for then it is difficult to tell the junior and mature pigeons apart. Juvenile pigeons will have some down poking through their feathers, smaller heads and won’t be as bold as their adult relatives.

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