Pigeons: 5 Pictures and 5 Facts about Squabs

Published: November 30, 2021

© Ingenious Photographer/Shutterstock.com

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Baby pigeons may be small, but they do grow up quickly. There's a lot to learn about these super intelligent squabs, so let's get started! Here are pictures and facts of the five young birds:

#1: Baby pigeons with parental involvement

newborn baby pigeon
Baby Pigeon has dedicated parents.

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Many animals in the animal kingdom are raised by their mothers, but the same cannot be said for baby pigeons. Unlike many other animals, male and female pigeons take turns hatching their young while they wait to hatch.

Interestingly, both male and female pigeons also produce "milk", a special secretion that is nutritious for their babies. All in all, both cocks and hens raise their young, which is one of the differences between them and other birds on the planet.

Raising offspring is not the only thing a pair of pigeons has to do. When two adult pigeons mate, they mate for life. During their life together, the pigeons coo softly when danger is near, and together they protect their young from predators. Parents also distract predators from their babies if a threat is imminent.

#2: Squabs are a rare sight in the wild

young pigeon close-up
The squabs do not leave the nest for a maximum of 45 days after birth.

©iStock.com/AGEphotography

Some might speculate that squabs are not real, since they are so rare in the wild. Believe it or not, there's a logical explanation for why this rumor spreads so often.

Since young birds cannot fly, they spend all their time in the nest with their parents. Some pigeons will reach the ground, but cannot return to their nests in trees. When this happens, the young birds beg for food and resources from their family and other adults until they can return to the comfort of their home.

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#4: Baby Pigeons Are Very Smart

little pigeon brothers and sisters
The squeaker is one of only nine animals that can recognize its own reflection.

© Galina Sharapova/Shutterstock.com

Many things prove how smart this little pigeon is. One of the most important is that they can pass the "mirror test". The mirror test is a self-awareness test in which the test animal is placed in front of a mirror.

Animals passed the test if they realized that the image in front of them was their reflection. On the other hand, animals who say they see another animal fail the test. Baby pigeons are one of only nine animals to pass the test. In 1979, pigeons proved for the first time that they could pass this test.

#4: Pigeons are born with built-in GPS

dove portrait
Squabs are born with the remarkable ability to find their home from miles away.

© The Art Photographer/Shutterstock.com

There was a time in the United States when about a quarter of all birds in the country were carrier pigeons. Carrier pigeons are pigeons that carry information from one person to another.

These pigeons were chosen because they can find their home from miles away. This means that these little pigeons are born with their own special GPS! Using carrier pigeons to cross borders became obsolete with the rise of the telephone and the internet, but their impact on communication has had a huge impact on the world we know today.

#5: Squeakers Have Extraordinary Hearing and Vision

pigeon in nest
Pigeon babies can see objects up to 25 miles away!

© Tota Shutter/Shutterstock.com

When squeakers are born, their eyes are closed. However, within just a few weeks of hatching, these young birds can see up to 25 miles away. Young pigeons are also unique in that they can detect volcanic activity and brewing storms. Scientists believe they can detect infrasound waves from storms, volcanoes and tornadoes. Humans cannot hear these sounds because their frequencies are too low for our ears to hear.

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young pigeon close-up

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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

How much does the pigeon weigh?

With over 300 species of pigeons, no two are the same. The average weight of a newly hatched pigeon is about 15 grams, but this figure can vary widely. When a pigeon is one month old, it will weigh at least 18 times its birth weight.

What do pigeons eat?

The diet of young birds for the first week and a half or so of life is fairly simple. Squeakers rely entirely on their parents to regurgitate crop milk for them until about day 5, when they will attempt to feed the seeds with their milk diet. After about a week and a half, they start getting foods from mom and dad that they would normally eat as adults, like seeds, some insects, and fruit.

Where does the little pigeon live?

Small pigeons cannot fly very well, if at all. Because of this, after they hatch, they are tethered to their family dens for between 25-35 days in summer and up to 45 days in winter. These nests can be located almost anywhere as long as there is a surface for the nest to live on and it is in a dry location. Some pigeons will even reuse old nests by building new ones over them, resulting in some nests being several feet wide!

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what's the name of the little pigeon

Small pigeons are called squabs and sometimes squeakers! Technically, these babies are just squabs until the full moon. A group of pigeons is called a flock.

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