Pigeons, also known as rock doves, are a common sight in cities around the world.
That’s why one question often comes up, why do pigeons live in cities? The facilities in cities mostly attract pigeons. The abundance of food and the absence of natural predators around mainly draw pigeons to cities. Besides, the availability of hard solid surfaces to nest is another reason pigeons live in cities.
In this article, we’ll explore this topic expressly. If you’re intrigued by these birds and want to learn more about their origin in the cities, keep reading!
Why Do Pigeons Live In Cities? (In-depth Analysis)
Let’s explore the main factors responsible for pigeons living in cities in large numbers:
Pigeons are well-adapted to human populations. They have evolved to be able to thrive in areas with high human population densities. It’s because humans have found ways to set up dovecotes and breed pigeons in residential areas.
Cities provide an abundance of food for pigeons. Pigeons are opportunistic feeders and will eat a wide variety of food, including grains, seeds, fruits, and even discarded food from human waste.
So, pigeons in cities have access to more food than their rural counterparts, which allows them to reproduce more often and have higher population densities.
Pigeons can take advantage of human-made structures for nesting. Cities provide a variety of hard-surfaced structures like ledges, bridges, and buildings that pigeons can use for nesting (supported by a 2008 research published in the European Journal of Wildlife Research).
This vast availability of nesting sites is a key factor in the distribution of pigeons in urban areas.
Here’s a short video of how pigeons make nests in city structures.
Urban pigeons are less susceptible to predators. Pigeons in cities have less to fear from natural predators than those in rural areas.
Common raptors (such as the peregrine falcons and Cooper’s hawks) are the major natural predators that hunt down pigeons in the wild.
However, the usage of DDT insecticide in cities has caused the population of these natural predators to plummet. (It’s because their eggshells are highly susceptible to insecticide chemicals, according to a Stanford University research).
Thus, most natural predators of pigeons are absent in urban areas. This lack of predators in urban areas allowed pigeons to thrive in the cities. Besides, DDT is also very harmful to pigeons, have to say.
Cities can also provide a milder climate. Cities are often warmer than rural areas (according to EU Science Hub), which can make them more suitable for pigeons. Therefore, pigeons have a higher survival rate in cities than in rural landscapes.
Cities provide a higher level of safety from natural disasters. In rural areas, pigeons are at risk from natural disasters such as storms, floods and fires.
Cities, on the other hand, provide a higher level of protection from such hazards. That’s why pigeons gradually have taken quite a liking to living in urban areas.
Pigeons take advantage of the lack of natural competitors in urban areas. In the wild, pigeons have to compete with other bird species for food and nesting sites. However, in urban areas, many of these other species are less common, which allows pigeons to thrive.
Is It Good For Humans To Have Pigeons In Cities?
Yes, pigeons can be beneficial to a city and its human inhabitants in many ways. For one, they help to keep the city clean by eating scraps of food that would otherwise be left to rot. On top of that, they can help to control insect populations, as they feed on many types of insects.
Pigeons can also be beneficial to a city in terms of aesthetics. Their bright colors and unique markings can add a splash of color to an otherwise dull urban landscape. Plus, they can also be a source of benign entertainment, as people often enjoy watching them fly around and interact with one another.
What Are The Risks Of Having Pigeons In Cities?
While pigeons may seem harmless, their presence in cities can have a number of negative effects:
- Pigeon droppings can damage buildings and monuments, and can also pose health risks to humans, as they can contain harmful bacteria and fungal spores.
- Pigeons can also cause damage to crops and gardens, and can also carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans and other animals.
- Additionally, pigeons can also be a nuisance, as they can make constant noises around residential building. They can also make a mess by flocking in large numbers in a certain place.
- Not only that, pigeons can also create an unsanitary environment by defecating on sidewalks and public spaces, which can be unsightly and unhygienic.
- If not managed properly, the pigeon population can also get out of control, leading to overpopulation and overcrowding in certain areas.
- Lastly, pigeons can also create a bad image of the city as the droppings and noise may discourage tourism.
Frequently Asked Questions
Some of the most commonly asked questions related to this topic are as follows:
No. Having a lot of pigeons in your neighborhood may not necessarily be a cause for concern, as long as the population is managed and controlled.
Installing deterrents, providing alternative food sources, and working with local organizations to manage the population can be some effective way to manage/control their population.
While pigeons are not typically considered a direct threat to children, children may be more likely to touch or ingest pigeon droppings. This can lead to the transmission of disease. So, parents should supervise children around pigeon droppings and teach them to avoid touching or ingesting them.
Well, there you have it. To wrap it all up, pigeons are well-adapted to urban environments, and have evolved to be able to thrive in areas because of many reasons. That includes an abundance of food, structures for nesting, less presence of predators, milder climate and higher safety.
Mind you, pigeons can be beneficial to a city and its human inhabitants in many ways. However, there are also risks associated with having pigeons in cities, such as droppings can damage buildings and monuments and pose health risks to humans.