Probably the most common bird that we often see in cities today are pigeons. While we often do see pigeons as air-headed birds that may look silly and wacky at times because of how their physical mannerisms and how blank-faced they look, they are actually quite intelligent and are some of the smartest birds on the planet. But, if they are as intelligent as they are, why do pigeons even eat soil?
Pigeons eat soil because these are animals that like foraging for food and due to how they are able to find all sorts of food in the soil. Moreover, it has also become a habit for pigeons to eat soil as they are used to picking food off the ground whenever people feed them grains or seeds on the ground.
In that sense, the fact that some pigeons eat soil is not because they like eating soil per se but only because of how certain habits and natural instincts usually lead them to try to look for food in the soil. So, in a way, pigeons may have associated soil and food as these birds like foraging for food wherever they can.
Why pigeons eat soil
Probably all of us are familiar with pigeons because these birds can be found all over the world due to how common they are. In fact, it is estimated that there are over 400 million pigeons in the world today as these birds are just that common. That number probably means that anyone in the world has seen a pigeon and has observed how these birds act on a regular basis.
Of course, one of the things that make pigeons interesting is their behavior. Even though pigeons are considered some of the smartest birds in the world, they may seem like odd birds because of the way they move and act at times. They look so blank-faced and may actually act silly and wacky at times to the point that they will do things that are out of the normal. One of the odd things you may notice about pigeons is when they may seem to eat soil.
So, why do pigeons eat soil? Or, better yet, why do they look like they are eating soil? To answer that question, we have listed down several reasons that may allow us to understand why pigeons behave this way.
Pigeons have a varied diet
Like most birds, pigeons have a very varied diet that is composed of a lot of different foods. Most birds are primarily omnivorous in the sense that they can eat both meat-based and plant-based foods. This means that they can practically eat anything as long as we are talking about something that is edible and organic.
Even though pigeons may be omnivores, they are primarily plant-based eaters as they prefer to eat grains and seeds. However, that doesn’t mean that they won’t eat insects and invertebrates such as worms. And those facts will easily allow you to understand why there are some pigeons that may seem like they are eating soil.
In case you haven’t noticed, a lot of the types of food that pigeons eat can be found on or in the ground. Foods such as grains and seeds can be found in the ground, and that is why pigeons may seem like they are eating soil as they are looking for grains and seeds. Moreover, there are a lot of insects and invertebrates that you can also find in the ground, and this leads to the possibility of pigeons looking like they are eating soil as they are picking their food in the soil.
Pigeons like foraging for food
Like many other birds, pigeons tend to be opportunistic feeders. That’s why they are so common in cities and populated areas as they like to be in places that give them the best opportunity to eat. You would often see these birds looking for the best opportunity to eat while they are walking through city streets waiting for a chance to find food. In that sense, pigeons are also foragers.
The fact that pigeons like foraging for food is one of the reasons why these birds seemingly do eat soil or, at the very least, look like they eat soil. In fact, pigeons can spend 6 to 18 hours a day foraging for food in any way they can and in any possible place. Of course, because of how long they spend foraging, they may actually eat soil at times or may look like they like eating soil.
In this sense, the fact that pigeons are foragers can lead to how them eating soil at times as they are trying to forage for food. This allows them to actually become lucky enough to find real food in the soil. After all, if you spend 6 to 18 hours a day picking your way through the soil, you are bound to find food. Of course, that also means that you will also end up eating soil along the way.
People feed pigeons on the ground
Finally, one of the most common behaviors that connect humans with pigeons is the act of feeding these birds. It is quite common for different people to feed pigeons in their backyards or in nearby parks. That’s because pigeons are not shy birds and are not afraid to eat anything that humans offer them as long as what they are offered is edible. Of course, on the part of us humans, it is quite easy to feed pigeons because of how they practically eat anything edible such as bird seeds or grains.
That said, because of how it has become too common for people to feed pigeons, the behavior and habit may have become ingrained in the very instincts and psyche of pigeons. Of course, it can be due to how pigeons are usually fed off the ground when people throw grains and seeds on the ground while watching pigeons picking their food on the ground. Because of this, it won’t be uncommon for pigeons to end up eating soil if people are feeding them on the soil instead of concrete pavements.
So, in a way, because of how they are used to eating food off the ground to the point that it might have become instinctive for them to do so, pigeons may sometimes eat soil while looking for food. And in some cases, these pigeons may have actually developed a good taste for soil as they are used to eating soil whenever they are picking their food off the ground.
In a sense, the act of pigeons eating soil is not due to how they actually like eating soil but can be attributed to how they are used to eating off the ground for a wide variety of reasons such as due to their foraging habits and because of how people like feeding them on the ground. It’s not like they actually like eating soil but it is more of a factor of how they are used to eating off the soil and even soil itself while they are looking for food or picking food off the ground.