Over the years it seems like more and more pigeons have come to reside in our towns and cities. Often described as the ‘vermin of the skies’ are you doing an injustice to these now urban birds?
The Woodpigeon (Columba palumbus) traditionally lived in the fields and hedgerows across the country but with urbanisation we are slowly eroding away these spaces. This is one of the reason Pigeons have been driven further into our built-up areas. Now whilst the urban pigeon can be an incredible nuisance especially is they are pestering you for a bit of your Cornish pasty when you are holiday in St Ives or decorating your Serviced Apartment Birmingham (like those found on http://www.8waterloostreet.co.uk/) with what they had for breakfast, they are actually quite interesting birds.
For example Pigeons were used in the Second World War to carry messages. These pigeons were all a part of the National Union of Racing Pigeons with one special pigeon delivering a letter to Churchill.
One of the reasons Pigeons were used in this manner is there incredible homing instinct along with their almost fearless outlook. This is still evident with the way in which they will quite happily take food that you have dropped right from under your feet.
There has been a steady increase in these the number of these birds since the 1970s and it is estimated that there are over more than 3 million breeding pairs in the United Kingdom. It is also thought that we large flocks form in the winter with a large number of these being birds visiting from the Continent.
The success of the Pigeon is largely down to its adaptability. They are more than happy to adjust their nesting space to whatever is needed and don’t usually lay more than 2 eggs. This is why you will often see large groups of pigeons nesting in underneath bridges in the small spaces on top of the steel structures holding the bridge in place. It can take up to 12 days for them to rebuild a nest from scratch and so where possible they prefer to reuse their nests and just bulk them out with any new material that they can find.
They can lay their eggs almost at anytime of the year, until most other birds, and many Pigeons still lay in September and October. Both the male and female share the incubation of the eggs and brooding the youngsters for their first 8 or so days of life showing that Pigeons are also firm believers of equality!