Animals and birds, much like people, don’t always get along with each other – pigeons are no exception.
If you keep pet pigeons, or even if you just like watching them in the wild, you’ve probably noticed that they squabble from time to time. Once you know the reasons, you can take measures to prevent fighting among your pet pigeons.
This is important because when birds fight, there can be injuries that are serious for the pigeons and that can be costly to have treated. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about pigeon fights.
1. They Are New to Each Other
Chances are that if you introduce new pigeons to each other, it will take a bit of time for them to get used to being together.
This can result in some pecking and fighting as each of the birds exerts dominance and claims its space.
Fortunately, pigeons are generally pretty easy going and enjoy interacting with each other, so this initial bickering should go away once the pigeons get used to one another.
2. They’re Being Possessive
While pigeons do tend to get along with each other for the most part, sometimes they can get possessive, which can lead to fighting.
If you have a pigeon who prefers a certain perch, nest, or feeder, you may notice that it starts nitpicking the other pigeons if they try to take a place on that perch, nest, or feeder.
This does not usually result in violence and the birds tend to make their own peace and give each other space when this happens.
3. They Want to Be First
Much like human children, you will notice that some pigeons want to be first at the feeder to eat or first to get water when you refill the water source.
If the pigeon feels like another bird is trying to take his first place spot, there may be some fighting as a result.
Again, this usually doesn’t turn violent, but it helps the pigeons learn to get along with one another and provide each other with the space needed when eating and drinking.
4. They are Marking Their Territory
Fighting over territory is likely something you’ll see more among feral pigeons than pet pigeons, but you might still notice that your pigeons squabble over who gets to be where from time to time.
If you’ve recently introduced a new pigeon to the enclosure, the other birds might battle it out for space until they all get used to each other. This is normal behavior and doesn’t usually turn into a big problem.
5. They are Protecting Their Babies
Naturally, parent pigeons will want to protect their babies so if another bird gets too close to the nest where eggs or hatchlings are, a fight is likely to break out.
The babies won’t get involved in the fighting, but the mother or father pigeon will peck or otherwise fight with another bird that gets too close.
This ensures that the babies survive until they are ready to leave the nest and is totally normal behavior among pigeons.
6. They Fight Over Food
Chances are that if you have pet pigeons, you provide them with adequate food for their needs so you might not see them fighting over the food supply.
However, feral pigeons will often get into arguments over food, especially if it’s scarce and the birds are hungry.
When other pigeons approach that food, a squabble can break out if one sees the other as a threat.
Hunger is a driving force for many birds and fighting over food is fairly common, but rarely turns deadly or dangerous.
7. They are Asserting Dominance
Another reason why pigeons might fight is to assert their dominance over other pigeons.
This is most common when a new bird is introduced. The birds that are already there will try to claim their space and keep the newcomer from taking over.
This is common among both pet pigeons and those living in the wild but doesn’t tend to last too long or get too violent.
Generally, the birds get used to each other and the squabbling stops.
8. They are Claiming a Mate
Pigeons mate for life so if they worry that another pigeon may be trying to steal their mate, they naturally go into fighting mode.
Pigeons very rarely leave one mate to go with another, but pigeons will still stand strong and claim their mate if they feel like another pigeon is trying to claim him or her.
Understanding Fighting Among Pigeons
Now that you know the most common reasons why pigeons fight, you can keep an eye on your birds to determine why they might not be getting along with each other.
Once you’ve figured that out, you can take steps to ensure that they don’t hurt one another and that they are able to live in harmony in whatever enclosure or home you have for them.
Fortunately, since pigeons are pretty mild-mannered, you probably won’t be dealing with fighting among them too often.
How to Prevent Fighting Among Your Pigeons
Naturally, you don’t want your pigeons to hurt each other or be scared of their environment. That means breaking up fights and making sure your pigeons are treating each other well.
If you are introducing a new pigeon to the roost, try using a piece of chicken wire to divide the enclosure so they can get used to being around each other without being able to fight.
You should also limit the number of pigeons you have in one location. The more birds you have, the less space each has available, which increases the risk of fighting among them.
When your pigeons are mating, incubating their eggs, or taking care of their babies, make sure they have some space away from the other birds so they don’t feel the need to fight to protect their mates and babies.
When it comes to wild pigeons, there are some steps you can take to keep them from fighting as well. Don’t feed them as that just encourages large groups of pigeons to continue coming back to the same place. And the more pigeons there are the more fighting is likely to occur.
Among feral pigeons, you can also limit the nesting materials they have access to so that they have to move on to roost. This discourages fighting among pigeons who are protecting their nest and babies.
If you have a large feral pigeon problem, consider calling your local animal control agency to come and help you thin the crowd and create a more harmonious living situation for all the birds involved.
Pigeons are fascinating creatures that make wonderful pets for many bird lovers. Even if you love birds from a distance and prefer to watch the wild pigeons near your home, you don’t want them to fight.
Understanding their behavior is the first step in helping prevent arguments and keeping your birds safe and healthy.