Pigeons are one of the most garden birds on the planet and can be found on all continents apart from Antarctica.
You’re bound to see a few of these avian friends around your yard and if you’re keen to get to know them a little better then you’ve probably wondered, do pigeons mate for life?
Pigeons will find a mate and stay with them for life. They’ll have an almost romantic courtship and will then set up a nest together and remain faithful for their entire lives. Or at least until something else separates them.
While many people see these birds as pests, they’ve been used by humans for centuries for various tasks. Understanding their mating rituals and how these birds interact with one another is certainly an interesting topic.
The Pigeon Mating Ritual
Generally speaking, it is the male pigeon that will attempt to court the female. He will do this in a variety of ways including puffing up his feathers and performing a march.
Alongside this march, he will make loud noises and strut around the female to woo her. Once the male takes an interest in his chosen female, he can be pretty stubborn and doesn’t easily give up.
If the female decides to fly away or walk off, which she often will, the male will continue to follow her. The next stage of the ritual involves the male regurgitating food to feed his potential new lover.
Once the female has accepted his proposal, the pair will mate.
They do this by using an opening known as the cloaca. Both birds have this and they need to touch in order for mating to take place.
When the mating has taken place, the two birds will pair up to create a nest and prepare for the imminent arrival of their young.
The female will lay her first eggs a few days after mating and they’ll need to incubate for between 25 and 29 days. What’s interesting is that the female only sits on the egg for one day, after this, the male takes over allowing his partner to rest.
What Time Of Year Do Pigeons Mate?
We promised you amazing pigeon facts and that’s exactly what you’re going to get…did you know that pigeons can make milk?
It’s not the same as a mammal since pigeons make milk using a gland in their neck but they can do this at any time meaning that these birds are able to mate whenever they please.
This milk is not the same as mammalian milk in that the secretion is a mix of natural secretions and partially digested food.
The number of times that a pigeon couple will mate over the course of a year will vary but on average, you would expect them to mate between six and eight times every twelve months.
When they are born, baby pigeons are known as squabs – how cute!
Are Pigeons Affectionate?
One of the most astonishing things about pigeons, despite what people may think, is that they are incredibly affectionate birds.
You could be fooled into thinking that birds aren’t the most intelligent creatures on the planet but you’d be surprised at how smart they are. This intelligence is perfectly displayed when looking at how they interact with one another.
If you spend time sitting in your yard observing these animals, you will quickly notice how they cuddle up to each other and are affectionate.
You might even notice them giving each other gentle pecks; a pigeon’s way of kissing!
They also communicate their affection for one another vocally, making cooing sounds as they greet each other.
But as well as being affectionate to other pigeons, it’s not uncommon for them to share the love with humans. Pigeon keepers can develop very affectionate bonds with their birds and this may even be extended to other pets in the family.
What Happens If One Mate Dies?
All good things must come to an end and there will come a time that one of the pigeon companions passes away. In this case, the remaining bird will typically mate with another pigeon.
PIgeons are incredibly common birds and whether you are considering keeping them or enjoy watching them in your garden, you may be surprised to learn that they are much more complex than many people imagine.
Mating for life is not uncommon for these birds and they will develop a very close bond with their partner, often showing affection by cuddling and pecking.
Each pair of pigeons may mate up to eight times a year with the male being the primary carer of the eggs!
So, next time you see some pigeons in your yard, take a moment to observe how they interact; you’ll now be able to understand perfectly what they are doing!
If you love pigeons, then check out the Royal Pigeon Racing Associate. It’s packed full of helpful articles.