As is well known, opinions differ when it comes to pigeons. For some they are the rats of the air, for others they are fascinating birds with an incredible sense of direction. Above all, however, these animals are extremely keen to reproduce. Anyone who comes across brooding pigeons in their own garden should therefore know about the breeding season and breeding behavior of the birds. That helps a lot with coexistence.
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The most widespread type of pigeon today is the so-called city or street pigeon. It descends from the common house or carrier pigeon. Strictly speaking, it was originally feral domestic pigeons, which were able to multiply enormously thanks to the large supply of food in cities and towns. In the meantime, however, city pigeons no longer settle and breed alone in an urban environment, but can also be found in parks and gardens. No matter what species of pigeon it is, their breeding behavior and breeding season are essentially the same. One reason for this might be the common origin – they all have Columba livia, the rock pigeon, as a kind of primal mother.
Pigeons generally breed several times a year. On average, two to four broods per calendar year are usual. The exact number depends on the local living conditions and, above all, on the food supply. If there is little food available in a breeding area in which animals live, there will be less breeding. Females are sexually mature at just five months old. The search for a partner and the first brood often do not take place until the second year of life. Once a couple has found each other, in most cases they will stay together for life. Pigeons are therefore monogamous. They also stay in their breeding range for most of their lives. There they also build their nests in places that appear reasonably protected to them.
- each pair of pigeons builds and maintains several nests at once
- Typical breeding behavior of the animals: they start the next brood sequence while they are still raising the first young after hatching
In our latitudes, the breeding season is usually limited to a period from March to October. But it can also happen that pigeons breed deep into winter. The female is very likely to lay a total of two eggs per brood. This means that in most cases a pigeon’s nest consists of two eggs. The second egg is usually laid about 24 hours after the first egg is laid. The hatchlings then hatch within a period of 17 to 18 days after incubation begins. They are then intensively cared for by their parents for a good three weeks. They leave the nest for the first time when they are about 25 days old. At the age of 30 to 35 days they are already fully capable of flying and then leave the nest to live independently from their parents.