Why do we hardly see young children?

We see pigeons everywhere. Flocks of pigeons flying high together or hundreds of pigeons pecking at seeds at tourist sites is a fairly common sight all over the world. But have you ever wondered why you rarely see small pigeons? How strange is it that, given the large number of pigeons you see each day, you rarely see a baby?

Are baby pigeons real?

Why do we hardly see young children?
Parent pigeon and hatchlings

“Squabs”, as young pigeons are called, are so rarely seen that there is a rumor that they are not real. There are even conspiracy theories about them, the most popular of which is that pigeons are government spies, and therefore no children.

But it turns out that baby pigeons are, in fact, real, like any other bird. There is a perfect explanation for their rarity. Most young pigeons don’t leave their nests until they’ve “molded” – they’re almost fully feathered and can fly. Young pigeons do not fledge until they are about four to six weeks old, which is about twice the length of time for most other garden birds. Therefore, by the time they are ready to leave their nests, they look like adult pigeons. It becomes difficult to identify them among the rest of their large relatives.

So, you’ve probably seen baby pigeons more times than you know. You simply don’t recognize them as juveniles because they are about the size of their parents, and actually look like them!

Young pigeons live with their parents longer than most birds

Why do we hardly see young children?
Baby pigeon development

Another reason is that young pigeons do not fly well. Other birds usually leave their nests earlier. Sometimes, they can barely fly when they leave their homes or they are kicked out of their nests. But these little birds manage themselves quite well by hopping around so they can fly quite well independently. But not young pigeons and some other birds such as swallows or hawks. They do not leave the comfort of their homes until they have developed good flying skills.

Another factor that probably plays the most important role in helping them maintain their elusiveness is the fact that pigeons are, in fact, very secretive birds. They go out of their way to keep their nests away from prying eyes. Pigeon nests are always built very high, out of view of humans and other predators. Wild pigeons build their homes on high cliffs and rocks, while their city relatives search for windowsills, roofs, scaffolding, heights or bridges. Since we don’t see their nests most of the time, we don’t see the inhabitants of the nest either.

Pigeons are secretive birds

Why do we hardly see young children?
Pigeon nest on a wooden framework

Pigeons require a flat, covered surface for their nests, unlike other birds. Therefore, all pigeons build their nests in a place where there is a smooth surface on which the nest sits. Sometimes they recycle old nests and build new ones. This results in a nest a few feet across. Therefore, even if a child occasionally falls, he will still be on the roof and out of our sight.

Pigeon babies are spoiled by their parents

Why do we hardly see young children?
Baby pigeon in a nest.

Young pigeons are rotten birds! They are a rare breed where the children are raised by both mom and dad, and they are good at parenting skills. Both are very protective of their young and keep them in the comfort of their homes for a long time. These children rarely appear in the outside world. And even if they did, they would already look like an adult.

How do you recognize a baby pigeon?

Why do we hardly see young children?
Young vs adult pigeon

Here is a way you can identify it if you come across it. Look for really dark eyes because an adult bird will always have red-orange eyes. Also, the fleshy, bulbous growth called a “cere” that we usually see over the beaks of adult pigeons is always white. If you notice a young dove, the color will be more gray-pink. Young pigeons also do not have a purplish-green shimmering yoke around their neck like adult pigeons.

In short, it turns out that the lack of young pigeons is not such a strange phenomenon after all. Perhaps because she is so common, large, and always around us, her children’s absence becomes even more noticeable.

Now that you know where to find these babies and what to look for, do you think you can spot one of them soon? Or, if you’re one of those rare humans who’ve seen the “legendary” band, let us know in the comments below.

Until then, we can all be happy with the fact that our young pigeons are in good “hands” with genuinely supportive parents who don’t mind keeping them at home for as long as they need!


Tricare west is a global news publication that tells the stories you want to know.

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