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Why do pigeons fight?

Why do pigeons fight?

There are many reasons why pigeons fight. Some fights result in small conflicts, while others can lead to deadly ones. If you are a pigeon enthusiast or plan to pet some pigeons, it is important to identify the reasons and take proper steps at the right time to help them live in harmony with one another.

Pigeons fight to assert dominance on other birds, to protect their babies, to claim their mate, to mark their territory and to get their food, water or other preferred things first.

Here are some of the most common reasons why pigeons fight!

  • To assert dominance

Asserting dominance is common in all species of pigeons. Even peace-loving pigeons do not like an invasion of their privacy. In fact, they try to maintain their power when a new bird enters their territory. In the case of new serious contenders, the fights can even get violent.

  • To protect their babies

Protecting their babies is a natural instinct in all parents, so I wouldn’t blame the mother and father pigeon for fighting against a possible threat to their newborn babies. It is said that the parents of a baby pigeon fight to protect their babies until they grow older and are ready to fly away from the nest.

  • To claim their mate 

Pigeons are known to have only one partner for their entire lives. So, if they see a third party as a threat to their long-lasting relationships, they stand against them and peck them till they leave. These fights can get violent at times, leading to critical wounds.

  • To mark their territory

Pigeons also like to ensure that their personal space is not encroached upon by another pigeon. Therefore, fighting to mark their territory is common in the wild, even when it comes to pet pigeons. If a new pet pigeon enters a cage, the old one clarifies the norms even if they have to fight their way for it.

  • To get their food/water first

Pigeons, like little children, get impatient and jump to get their food or water first. In this process, they sometimes end up fighting. However, this fight is usually not violent, and the pigeons calm down almost immediately.

  • To get their preferred things

Pigeons can get possessive for their nests, food, feeder, or preferred spot. This may lead to fights that don’t last long. Pigeons tend to respect space to maintain peace. So, these fights are usually not maniacal.

  • For food

Food is not a common reason for pigeon fights if it is available in abundance. However, in case of food shortages, pigeons do fight with each other to get their share. These fights can sometimes result in injuries as they become excessively aggressive.

It is important to remember that pigeons are usually possessive in nature and do not appreciate when someone threatens their babies or partner. Also, fights are common when their space is invaded by new pigeons. That said, pigeons are mild-mannered, and you can expect them to live peacefully without any conflicts unless someone gives them a reason to squabble. Feral pigeons are more likely to engage in violent fights than pet pigeons, but these fights can be avoided by following a few easy rules.

Do Pigeons Fight To The Death?

Although it is not as common, pigeons have been known to fight to the death, given their territorial and possessive nature. When pigeons kill each other, they usually do not do it alone but in groups. Male pigeons particularly do not tolerate other pigeons in their territories. Hence, they are known to fight all intruders, sometimes even to the death.

Adult pigeons also kill their babies sometimes. This behavior is known as scalping. Although this behavior isn’t common, here are some reasons why pigeons might kill their young ones:

  • They kill their babies if they are sick or malformed. Sickly babies are killed, and mother pigeons do not like wasting their limited resources on babies who wouldn’t be able to survive alone.
  • They kill their babies if they cannot fly. This again has to do with their independence and survival rates. If a baby pigeon resists flying, their parents might also kill them out of frustration.
  • They kill if their babies get injured. Sometimes, baby pigeons fall off their nests or get injured. The helpless baby pigeon will naturally squawk, which can attract predators. Hence, pigeons might kill their injured babies to protect their other babies and valuable resources. 
  • Pigeons have been known to kill the young ones of other pigeons. If baby pigeons wander off and fly into the nests of rival pigeons, they usually kill them to mark their territory.
  • Pigeon babies might die due to territorial fights. If there is a territorial dispute between two rival parents, they might attack the rival’s babies instead of the adults. This usually happens when these fights take place too close to the nests.

How Do You Stop Pigeons From Fighting?

It is a good idea to ensure that all pigeons are kept separate from one another so that they have their own space and do not end up fighting over an invasion of their privacy. This will also stop them from asserting their dominance or picking a fight to mark their territory. You can also train them over a period of time so that they do not pick fights with other pigeons and can learn to tolerate them eventually. Food is a common reason for them to squabble. Hence, make sure that you feed them separately so that they don’t peck each other.

If you have a male and female pigeon, it is also recommended that you do not add a third pigeon to their nest or cage as they might feel threatened. Here are some other things you can try to stop your pet pigeons from fighting:

  • Move your pigeon’s cage to a neutral place in the house. When you keep moving it around, you remove it from its territory, thus making the pigeon less likely to get aggressive.
  • Avoid swift movements that might make the pigeon scared or nervous.
  • Avoid yelling, as that will only make your pigeon more restless.

That’s all about pigeon fighting. Knowing these, you can next time understand why pigeons are fighting and what are all the precautions and methods to avoid it.