When you think of birds who eat fish, ospreys, pelicans, gulls and penguins are probably among those that first come to mind.
Pigeons are probably not even on your radar, but pigeons will and do eat fish given the opportunity.
What Do Pigeons Usually Eat?
As for all birds, a pigeon beak is designed for a particular type of diet.
In general, pigeons are granivorous birds.
A pigeon living healthily in the wild will have a diet that consists mostly of the following:
What we need to remember is that pigeons are animals that have fight-or-flight survival instincts, and this means that they will have a go at any source of food if they are starving or in a vulnerable situation.
However, pigeons are not a breed of bird that is good at hunting.
They are more comfortable as foraging birds so the prospect of diving into a body of water to catch a fish and then rip it apart for food isn’t realistic for a pigeon’s physical makeup.
When it comes to adding any meat-style protein to their diet, a pigeon is much more at home picking a few insects from the forest floor than heading to the riverbank to fish!
Do Pigeons Eat Fish?
So, although having established pigeons are a long way from being a piscivore, pigeons do eat fish.
Fish is a great source of protein and Omega 3 fatty acids for humans, so why wouldn’t that be exactly the same for birds?
The hurdle to gaining these nutrients is of course finding fish to eat.
The one thing in a pigeon’s favor in this regard is that humans eat fish and as fish and chips are one of the favorite takeaway foods, wild pigeons are quite likely to find discarded fish in the foods they forage for in urban areas.
Although the fish in a McDonald’s Filet-o-Fish may not be top quality, it can contribute to the protein a pigeon needs.
Of course, wild pigeons who live near the sea are more likely to find more fish to eat than other urban pigeons.
Can Domestic Pigeons Eat Fish?
Can pigeon fanciers feed fish to their kept birds at home?
The answer is yes, but it must be said that feeding fish to pigeons when you have a wide choice of foods and control over their diets isn’t the most common choice to make.
Racing pigeons will particularly benefit from the omega-3 oils in fish but the pigeon-specific feeds you can buy are usually balanced to provide the full range of nutrients a healthy bird needs.
A very small amount of chopped-up raw fish can be a good source of protein and fats for a pigeon’s body, but it should not be the number one ingredient on any diet plan.
The key thing to remember if you do decide to experiment with serving fish to your birds is not to leave it out for the pigeon for too long.
Raw fish when not refrigerated can deteriorate very quickly running the risk of bacteria developing which the pigeon’s digestive system may not be able to cope with.
If you want to provide cooked fish, make sure you do so without any kind of seasoning or frying oil in the process. Pigeons do need salt, but an excess can be fatal.
If your pigeon decides it is unable to digest the fish that you have offered, it will simply vomit what It has eaten and move on to a more familiar staple food.
Overall, even though domestic pigeons can eat most of the same things as humans (except some toxic foods like avocado and chocolate), it is best to fill your bird feeders with proprietary foods that are well balanced to provide all the nutrition a pigeon needs.