Often overlooked, pigeons boast many unique characteristics. In this blog, we delve deeper into the more unusual traits of pest pigeons, and some bizarre facts that we’re sure you haven’t heard about before! Read on to discover five lesser-known facts about the common pigeon and learn more about this complex and underestimated bird.
- Pigeons are a descendant of doves and belong to the same ornithological group; the Columbidae bird family. Formerly cliff-dwelling birds, the common grey pigeon has the same characteristic beak, body shape and wingspan, however, has evolved quite differently to live comfortably alongside humans in cities and urban areas.
- Unknown to most, the pigeons produce milk! Moreover, it’s not just the female pigeons, but both female and male sexes create this type of fluid. ‘Crop milk,’ as it’s known, is a protein-rich substance that is churned up within a pouch within the pigeon’s throat, that naturally contains antioxidants and nutrients. This milk is fed to baby chicks to nourish their growing bodies and improve their immune system. The only other birds that have been recorded to produce similar milk are penguins and flamingos – something incredibly unusual.
- You have probably noticed that pigeons have a distinctive walk, appearing to bob their heads as they move. What you might not know, is that pigeons do this to see better. When you look at a pigeon ‘bobbing’ their head, it’s not that the head is moving much at all. What happens in one quick jolty movement is the head moving forward to stabilize their vision, keeping the eyes still to look out for potential predators or prey, with their body moving in afterward. This movement means that pigeons can maintain stead vision, to quickly spot any surrounding dangers, or potential food.
- Pigeons have incredible hearing, and incredibly an average pigeon can head noises down to a tiny 0.01hz. Just to put this into perspective, humans can’t hear anything under 12hz, meaning that pigeons will recognize distant storms or imminent threats far earlier than a human would be able to – something they have developed as a handy defense tool over many decades of evolution. Not many animals can boast this acute hearing, and down to such a small noise level.
- Pigeons mate for life. This coupling is a rarer occurrence in zoology and ornithology, with only around 5% of all species in the entire animal kingdom choosing one mate for their lifetime. They will also share parenting duties, with the male and female both producing milk to feed the young and taking equal care over fledgling chicks. They will usually have two chicks in every pregnancy and can breed up to a whopping eight times in one year providing there is plenty of food around.
- Finally, a pigeon’s navigational skills are incomparable to any other in the animal kingdom. Able to find their way over vast distances, the pigeon has an innate sense of direction and navigation, as most believe through ‘magnetoreception’ – a way of sensing direction using the Earth’s magnetic fields. It’s thought that a pigeon can attune to magnetic fields around the world to pinpoint altitude and direction so that they can easily find their way home.
The professionals at U.S. Pigeon Control have spent many years studying pest pigeons and understanding their behavioral patterns. We are not your average pigeon pest control company and champion ourselves on using the most effective and humane methods through our behavioural control tactics. If you have a pigeon problem give U.S. Pigeon Control a call to find out how we can help you today!