Pigeons are meticulous, doting parents . . . which is why you probably won’t see many baby pigeons in the wild . . . if at all. Pigeons produce small broods (usually two babies) and tuck them in nests high on ledges — homes which resemble their ancestors’ cliff dwellings.
The pigeon parents feed their brood a nutritious mixture known as “crop milk” or “pigeon milk,” so named so because it’s secreted from the parent’s crop. The diet becomes more varied after a few weeks of these nutrients. By the time the babies leave the nest, their size is such that you may not recognize them as babies anymore. Hence the mistaken notion that people never see baby pigeons. They’re just big babies.
Several months ago I transported a baby who was barely out of his fledgling stage — and he looked perfectly adult and pudgy to me, just like any other city pigeon.
A few days ago, however, I transferred the youngest pigeons I’d personally seen to a nearby wildlife facility. In the photos below, you can see the difference a few days of parental care can make in the pigeon world:
With all of my photos, I do my best to abide by a set of nature photography ethics
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