Do Pigeons Attack Humans?

As a general rule pigeons will not attack humans.

Pigeons are friendly creatures who like humans, especially those that feed them.

do pigeons attack humans

However, nesting pigeons with fledglings to protect will make a big fuss if you approach their nest and have known to beat or buffet people with their wings in this kind of circumstance.

This is a natural reaction of any parents when guarding their young and believe that their offspring are in danger.

The idea of pigeons just deciding to attack for no reason isn’t viable.

An unprovoked attack on a human is extremely rare.

Only a very disturbed or frightened bird would do such a thing.

They May Recognize People Who Have Shown Aggression Towards Them In The Past

Pigeons are incredibly smart and can actually recognize themselves if you show them an image in a mirror, they can also recognize and remember humans too.

Feral pigeons that are fed by kind people on a regular basis will flock directly to that person on recognition, knowing that person has come to feed them.

So, it goes without saying that a person that has shown aggression towards them is recognized too.

Evidence Of Pigeon Attacks On People

You can find videos on the internet that supposedly show pigeons attacking people, but they aren’t very good and don’t prove the point that they are trying to make.

One video shows a woman being followed and attacked by a pigeon in a subway station.

Before the woman arrives there is footage of the pigeon attacking a man and a young boy.

It all seems very straightforward, but maybe it isn’t. Nobody knows the circumstances leading up to these ‘attacks’.

This is very strange and disturbing behavior in a pigeon.

Maybe the pigeon was stressed out by a prior incident or possibly it is a case of faulty recognition.

How Dangerous Are Pigeons?

Pigeons certainly aren’t noted for vicious attacks.

They might do some real damage to a discarded hamburger bun, but that’s about all.

aggressive pigeon

Also, pigeons don’t have an arsenal of weaponry with which to do harm.

They don’t have strong and sharp claws to rend and shred like birds of prey or those deadly, razor edged beaks.

Their wings don’t have the power to break an arm like a swan’s can.  

The Illusion Of An Attack

We’ve all had that heart-stopping moment when we’ve been walking through an area thronged with pigeons and one is suddenly flying straight at you.

You immediately take evasive action by ducking and wonder why the bird has got it in for you!

If you had just stood your ground the pigeon would have swerved around you.

It’s just your perception making you think the pigeon is attacking you.

How many times have actually seen a pigeon fly into anything?

They aren’t stupid, they are aerial masters.

Maybe it is a bit of pigeon fun, playing ‘chicken’ with humans.

You can imagine that it breaks up the monotony of pecking around for food.

Summing Up

Defending themselves from their natural predators is one thing, but in the case of pigeons vs humans, their first response to danger is to flee, not fight. 

The suggestion that pigeons will attack humans is mostly paranoia from people who are scared of or dislike birds, albeit mixed with the odd (extremely rare) story of an aggressive pigeon attack.


Dan has been fascinated with pigeons since his youth when he used to feed them breadcrumbs at the local park. With a background in SEO Dan noticed a few years ago that there were very few websites around dedicated to his favorite bird so he set out to change that by starting Pigeonpedia.

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