Baby pigeons learn to fly very quickly.
This early part of a pigeon’s life cycle from hatchling to fledgling to flying and leaving the nest usually takes less than four weeks.
When Do Baby Pigeons Fly?
Just like any other bird, the process of learning to fly is gradual but short.
For the first two weeks of life, they stay in the nest being completely cared for by their parents.
Then it takes two to three weeks to learn to fly and graduate from flight school to move on out into the world.
This short time span is one of the reasons why it’s rare to see baby pigeons.
How fast a pigeon learns to fly will depend on their:
Baby pigeons are born without feathers so for the first couple of weeks they are completely dependent on their parents to feed them and keep them warm.
Fluffy feathers will begin to grow a few days after birth but they have to wait two to three weeks to grow feathers that are strong enough to sustain flight.
From 3 weeks, squabs will start to mimic flight by flapping their wings. Flight lessons begin with the bird holding on with their wings and using their legs for balance.
Their wings will inflate almost like a balloon and start to slowly stretch out as they begin to learn how to fly. They’ll do this in the safety of the nest for one or two weeks.
Their first flight is made under the guidance of a parent bird, usually the father. Parents will accompany the squab until they are proficient to fly alone.
The parent’s presence is also required to ensure the squab can find the nest to return to. This is another skill that needs to be learned.
Once the baby pigeon has learned how to fly, it will usually spend most of its time outside of the nest, on the ground with its parents where it will use its wings to help it balance.
The wings require time to become strong enough to support a successful flight, and during this learning period, the vulnerable babies stay close to their parents.
When they are confident enough to fly and find food, the squab will leave the nest for good. At this point, the bird is probably between 25 and 29 days old.
The Importance of Flight
For a baby pigeon, learning to fly is one of the most important milestones of their early lives!
Flight means the bird can leave the nest to find their own food.
It signifies their independence from their parents and after a short time of having learned to fly, they will leave the nest and their parents, never to return.
They will integrate into pigeon society, hunt for food, hide from predators and find a mate to raise their own baby pigeons.