When Do Pigeons Leave The Nest- The transition from a cozy nest to the wide world is a pivotal moment in the life of a pigeon, a bird that is often regarded as a symbol of peace and resilience. Understanding when and why pigeons leave the nest offers insight into their remarkable journey from fragile hatchlings to self-reliant aviators, as well as the crucial role this timing plays in their survival and species’ continuity.

Pigeons, known scientifically as Columba livia, are renowned for their adaptability to urban and rural environments. Their life cycle, from egg to fledgling, is marked by distinct phases, each with its unique challenges and milestones. Among these phases, the departure from the nest stands out as a transformative event.

When Do Pigeons Leave The Nest

Pigeon nests, typically constructed in elevated locations like ledges, buildings, or trees, provide a safe haven for the incubation of eggs and the nurturing of squabs, or baby pigeons. During this period, the parents share the responsibilities of incubating the eggs and feeding the squabs, ensuring their growth and development. However, as squabs mature, the time comes for them to venture beyond the confines of the nest.

The moment when pigeons leave the nest is a carefully timed process, influenced by a combination of factors, including the squabs’ physical development, their ability to fly, and the availability of parental care. It is a pivotal step towards independence and marks the beginning of their journey into the wider world, where they will face new challenges, learn to forage, and navigate the skies. Understanding this transition provides a glimpse into the intricacies of pigeon behavior and the balance between parental care and the drive for self-sufficiency in the avian world.

How long do baby pigeons stay with their mother?

Around 2 weeks

However, these feathers aren’t strong enough to help the pigeon fly yet, they grow their stronger feathers later on. Once hatched the squabs will spend around 2 weeks being cared for by their mother until they grow big enough to leave the nest.

Baby pigeons, often referred to as squabs, have a unique upbringing that involves a close bond with their parents, particularly their mother. The duration of time that squabs stay with their mother is an essential phase in their development, as it prepares them for a life of independence.

Typically, squabs stay with their mother in the nest for a period of about 25 to 32 days, although this duration can vary based on several factors, including environmental conditions and food availability. During this time, the mother pigeon plays a critical role in their care. She keeps them warm and provides nourishment through regurgitated food, a process known as “pigeon milk.” This specialized milk is rich in nutrients and helps the squabs grow rapidly.

As the days pass, squabs undergo significant physical changes. They grow feathers, their wing muscles strengthen, and they become increasingly mobile. During this phase, the mother gradually reduces her feeding visits, encouraging the squabs to explore the nest and eventually venture outside. This process is a crucial part of their development, as it prepares them for life outside the nest, where they will learn to forage for food and navigate the world independently.

While the bond between mother and squabs is strong during their time in the nest, it gradually lessens as the squabs become self-sufficient. Once they are fully fledged and capable of sustained flight, they will leave the nest, marking the beginning of their journey towards independence. However, the knowledge and care provided by their mother during those crucial weeks serve as a foundation for their survival and adaptation in their environment, making this period of maternal care essential in the life of a pigeon.

Do pigeons leave the nest before they can fly?

Most young pigeons will fledge a day or two before they are fully capable of flying and will spend a couple of days foraging on the ground. In some cases, pigeons will fledge and are unable to get back into their nest. This can happen when the nest is high up and the young bird cannot fly yet.

Pigeons, like many other bird species, do not leave the nest before they can fly. Unlike mammals, where some species may leave the den or nest and remain under parental care while still unable to fend for themselves, birds have a different developmental strategy.

Pigeon chicks, known as squabs, are entirely dependent on their parents, particularly their mother, during their early days of life. They are born in a relatively undeveloped state, blind and featherless, and require constant care and protection. The mother pigeon keeps them warm, feeds them with regurgitated “pigeon milk,” which is highly nutritious, and shields them from environmental hazards.

As the squabs grow, they gradually develop feathers and their wing muscles strengthen. It’s only when they have reached a certain level of physical maturity and are capable of sustained flight that they leave the nest. This transition typically occurs around 25 to 32 days after hatching, depending on various factors.

Leaving the nest coincides with their ability to fly, and it marks the beginning of their journey toward independence. Pigeons are remarkably agile in the air, and this skill is crucial for their survival. Once they fledge and venture out into the world, they begin to learn essential survival skills, such as foraging for food and navigating their environment.

Pigeons, like most birds, do not leave the nest before they can fly. Their departure from the nest is a pivotal moment in their development, occurring when they have acquired the necessary flight capabilities to explore the world independently.

What does a pigeon look like when its ready to leave the nest?

Adults, both male and female, feed the squabs pigeon milk for the first 10 days of their lives. Baby pigeons spend a relatively long time in the nest, as much as four to five weeks. When they’re finally ready to fledge, they look just like adult pigeons.

When a pigeon chick, known as a squab, is ready to leave the nest, it undergoes a remarkable transformation in its appearance. Pigeons, like all birds, go through distinct stages of development, and these changes prepare them for the challenges of life outside the nest.

Feathers: One of the most noticeable signs that a squab is ready to leave the nest is the development of feathers. Initially, squabs are born without feathers and have pinkish, wrinkled skin. Over time, their feathers start to grow, covering their bodies in a downy layer. As they mature, these downy feathers are gradually replaced by adult plumage. By the time they are ready to leave the nest, squabs have a full set of feathers that closely resemble those of adult pigeons.

Size: Squabs grow rapidly during their time in the nest. They start as tiny, helpless creatures and gradually become larger and more robust. When they are ready to fledge, or leave the nest, they are nearly the same size as adult pigeons, with fully developed bodies.

Wing Strength: A crucial aspect of being ready to leave the nest is the development of wing strength. Squabs begin to exercise their wing muscles by flapping their wings while inside the nest. This exercise helps them build the strength necessary for sustained flight. When their wings are strong enough, they are prepared to make their first flights.

Behavior: As squabs mature, their behavior changes. They become more active and curious, often peering over the edge of the nest and flapping their wings in anticipation of their first flight. They may also become more vocal, producing cooing sounds that are characteristic of pigeons.

Independence: When squabs are ready to leave the nest, they exhibit a desire for independence. They start to explore the area immediately around the nest, hopping or fluttering to nearby perches. This behavior is an essential part of their preparation for life outside the nest.

A pigeon chick that is ready to leave the nest looks quite different from the vulnerable, featherless hatchling it once was. It is characterized by its fully developed feathers, adult-sized body, strong wings, increased activity, and a growing sense of independence. These changes signify that the squab is prepared to take its first flights and begin its journey towards becoming a self-sufficient adult pigeon.

When Do Pigeons Leave The Nest

Is it good if pigeon laying eggs in my balcony?

It is generally believed that it is inauspicious to have a pigeon’s nest in the house. Nesting on the balcony or terrace of the house means that he has brought bad luck with him. It should be removed promptly in this situation. Otherwise, the person has to face many problems.

The presence of pigeon eggs in your balcony can elicit mixed feelings, and whether it is considered “good” or not largely depends on individual perspectives and circumstances.

Pros of Pigeon Nesting:

Connection with Nature: Having pigeons nest in your balcony can offer a unique opportunity to observe the natural world up close. It allows you to witness the nesting, incubation, hatching, and raising of pigeon chicks, which can be educational and fascinating.

Pest Control: Pigeons are generally clean birds that do not pose significant health risks. They primarily feed on grains and seeds, which means they are not attracted to human food scraps. Their presence can help control insect populations, as they may consume small insects that are common balcony pests.

Aesthetic Appeal: Some people find the sight of pigeons and their nests aesthetically pleasing. The cooing sounds and the presence of these birds can create a sense of tranquility and connection to nature.

Cons of Pigeon Nesting:

Mess and Droppings: Pigeons can create messes with their droppings, which can accumulate on your balcony. Pigeon droppings may contain bacteria that can be harmful to humans if not cleaned up regularly.

Noise: Pigeons can be noisy, especially during the breeding season when they engage in cooing and calling to attract mates. This noise can be disruptive, particularly if you live in close quarters with neighbors.

Potential Damage: Pigeons may damage plants, furniture, or other items on your balcony as they scavenge for nesting materials or explore their surroundings.

Health Concerns: While pigeons themselves are generally not a significant health threat, their nests can attract parasites like mites and ticks, which can potentially affect humans and pets.

Whether having pigeon eggs in your balcony is considered “good” or not depends on your tolerance for the associated inconveniences and your personal preferences. If you decide to allow the pigeons to nest, it’s important to take measures to minimize the negatives, such as regularly cleaning up droppings, providing a safe nesting environment, and, if necessary, seeking advice from wildlife experts or local authorities on managing pigeon populations in a humane and responsible manner.

At what age do pigeon chicks typically leave the nest?

Pigeon chicks, also known as squabs, typically leave the nest at around 25 to 32 days of age. This timing can vary based on various factors, including environmental conditions, food availability, and the specific species of pigeon. The departure from the nest marks a significant milestone in their development, as it signifies their readiness for independent life.

During the first few weeks of their lives, squabs are entirely dependent on their parents for food, warmth, and protection. They start as fragile, featherless hatchlings, but their growth is rapid. Feathers begin to emerge, and they gradually transform into miniature versions of adult pigeons.

As squabs approach the age of 25 to 32 days, several key developments indicate their readiness to fledge:

Feathers: By this stage, squabs have grown a full set of feathers, and their bodies are well-covered. These feathers provide insulation, enabling them to regulate their body temperature more effectively.

Wing Strength: Squabs have been practicing flapping their wings while inside the nest, gradually building the strength required for sustained flight. Their wings become robust and functional.

Curiosity: Squabs become increasingly curious and active, often exploring the immediate vicinity of the nest. They may even perch on the edge of the nest, peering over in anticipation of their first flights.

Reduced Parental Care: Parental care begins to shift as squabs mature. While the parents continue to provide some food, their visits become less frequent, encouraging the squabs to become more independent.

Once squabs have met these developmental milestones and can confidently use their wings, they take the bold step of leaving the nest. Their first flights may be somewhat unsteady, but their agility improves rapidly as they gain experience. This transition into the world beyond the nest is a crucial phase in their journey towards adulthood, where they will learn essential survival skills, including foraging for food and navigating their environment.

What are the signs that indicate a pigeon chick is ready to fledge and leave the nest?

The signs that indicate a pigeon chick, often called a squab, is ready to fledge and leave the nest are a combination of physical developments and behavioral changes. Understanding these signs is essential for recognizing when squabs are prepared for independent life.

Feather Development: One of the primary indicators of a squab’s readiness to fledge is the development of feathers. Squabs are born with soft, downy feathers, but as they mature, they grow adult-like plumage. When their feathers are fully developed, covering their bodies, it signifies their ability to regulate body temperature, a crucial requirement for surviving outside the nest.

Wing Strength: Squabs begin to exercise their wing muscles by flapping their wings while inside the nest. Their wings become stronger and more functional over time. When they can sustain flapping and exhibit coordinated wing movement, it’s a sign that they are building the strength needed for flight.

Curiosity and Activity: As squabs approach the fledge stage, they become more active and curious. They may start to explore the immediate vicinity of the nest, hopping around, and even perching on the edge of the nest. This increased activity indicates a growing eagerness to venture beyond the nest.

Reduced Parental Care: Parental care begins to shift as squabs mature. While the parents continue to provide some food, their visits to the nest become less frequent. This reduction in feeding visits encourages squabs to become more self-reliant and prompts them to leave the nest in search of food.

Weight and Size: Squabs grow rapidly, and by the time they are ready to fledge, they are nearly the size of adult pigeons. Their weight increases as they develop, giving them the mass necessary for stable flight.

Cooing and Communication: Squabs may begin to produce cooing sounds, similar to adult pigeons. These vocalizations serve as a form of communication and are often used to attract mates. The emergence of these cooing sounds can be a sign that squabs are approaching maturity.

When these signs align, it’s a clear indication that a pigeon chick is prepared to fledge and leave the nest. Fledgling is a crucial step in their development, as it marks the beginning of their journey toward independence and self-sufficiency in the wild.

Do pigeons ever return to their nests after leaving, or do they establish new territories?

Pigeons, like many bird species, have distinct behaviors related to nest use and territory establishment. Once pigeons leave their nests as fledglings, they typically do not return to their original nests. Instead, they venture into the world to establish their territories, find mates, and eventually create new nests.

Pigeons are known for their strong homing instincts, which allow them to navigate and return to specific locations over long distances. However, this homing ability is typically associated with finding their way back to their home loft or roosting site, not to their original nests as fledglings.

After leaving the nest, young pigeons embark on a period of exploration and learning. They often form flocks with other pigeons, both juveniles and adults, as they search for food and suitable places to establish their territories. These territories can include urban areas, buildings, trees, or other structures where they feel safe and can access food and water sources.

As pigeons mature, they may engage in courtship behaviors and eventually mate. Pigeon pairs select nesting sites within their established territories, and they construct new nests for breeding. These nests are typically different from the nests where they were raised as squabs. Pigeons are known for their adaptability and can build nests in a wide range of environments, including ledges, eaves, and trees.

While pigeons have strong homing instincts, they do not return to their original nests once they leave as fledglings. Instead, they establish new territories, form flocks, and eventually create new nests for breeding. This behavior is essential for their survival and the continuation of their species, as it allows them to adapt to different environments and find suitable partners for reproduction.

When Do Pigeons Leave The Nest

How does the process of pigeons leaving the nest contribute to their independence and survival?

The process of pigeons leaving the nest, known as fledging, plays a crucial role in their independence and survival. It marks the beginning of their journey toward self-sufficiency and prepares them for the challenges of life in the wild.

Development of Flight Skills: Fledgling is closely linked to the development of flight skills. Before leaving the nest, young pigeons practice flapping their wings and strengthening their flight muscles. This exercise is essential for mastering the art of flying, which is a critical skill for pigeons to navigate their environment, escape predators, and find food.

Exploration and Learning: Once pigeons leave the nest, they begin to explore the world around them. This exploration is a valuable learning experience that exposes them to various landscapes, potential food sources, and potential dangers. It helps them acquire the knowledge needed to survive, including where to find water, suitable roosting sites, and safe places to forage.

Foraging and Self-Feeding: After leaving the nest, young pigeons must learn to forage and feed themselves. They observe adult pigeons and other members of their flock to discover suitable food sources. This self-sufficiency is critical for their long-term survival, as it ensures they can find food even when parental care is no longer available.

Establishing Territories and Mating: Fledgling pigeons eventually establish their territories, a process that involves finding suitable nesting sites, claiming space, and seeking mates. The independence gained through leaving the nest enables them to engage in courtship behaviors, select mates, and begin their own reproductive cycles. This contributes to the continuity of the pigeon species.

Adaptability: The ability to leave the nest and adapt to various environments is a hallmark of pigeon resilience. Pigeons are highly adaptable birds that can thrive in urban, suburban, and rural settings. Their capacity to establish territories in diverse locations and find innovative nesting sites enhances their chances of survival in a changing world.

The process of pigeons leaving the nest is a critical step in their development, as it fosters flight skills, encourages exploration and learning, promotes self-sufficiency in foraging and feeding, facilitates the establishment of territories, and ultimately contributes to their independence and long-term survival. This transition prepares young pigeons for the challenges and opportunities they will encounter in the wild as they continue their journey into adulthood.


As we conclude our exploration of when pigeons leave the nest, we uncover a profound chapter in the life of these remarkable birds, marked by both beauty and necessity. The departure from the nest is a momentous event, symbolizing the transition from fragile hatchlings to self-reliant aviators, and it plays a critical role in the survival and continuity of the pigeon species.

Throughout the course of their development, pigeons are nurtured in the safety of their nests, where they receive essential care from their parents. The nest serves as a sanctuary, a place of warmth and nourishment, where squabs grow, feathers emerge, and wings take shape. Yet, it is also a temporary abode, and there comes a time when the squabs must embrace the call of the sky.

When Do Pigeons Leave The Nest

The timing of this departure is a delicate balance between the squabs’ physical readiness and the instincts that drive them towards independence. As they mature, their wings strengthen, and their flight capabilities develop. The parents, too, play a vital role in this process, gradually reducing their provision of food to encourage the squabs to explore the world beyond the nest.

The departure from the nest is not just a moment of separation; it is a journey into the unknown. It is a rite of passage where pigeons begin to navigate their environment, learn to forage, and sharpen their survival skills. It is a testament to their resilience, adaptability, and innate ability to thrive in diverse landscapes, from bustling urban environments to tranquil rural settings.