7 Things You Never Knew About Pigeons
Look up at the sky and there’s … a pigeon! Chances are you’ve seen these friendly birds flitting about your own neighbourhood. They’re a common sight and truly remarkable.
Did you know any of these seven things about pigeons?
- Not only are pigeons monogamous and devoted to their mates for their entire lives, mother and father birds also share the parental duties equally.
- A study showed that pigeons can learn abstract numerical rules – something that, until recently, it was believed only humans and other primates could do.
- Pigeons control their own population. The number of pigeons in an area will naturally stabilise depending on food supply and other factors.
- Pigeons understand human transport routes and often rely on that knowledge for navigation more than their own internal magnetic compasses.
- These birds can recognise all 26 letters of the English alphabet and are great problem-solvers.
- Pigeons can also pass the self-awareness “mirror test”, which only a handful of other animal species have done.
- Right now, hundreds of thousands of pigeons are being exploited around the world, but you can help stop this!
What You Can Do for Pigeons
All across the country, in public spaces – outside shops, at train stations, and under bridges – pigeons are dying in pain after becoming trapped in netting designed to deter them.
Seeing these birds suffer is extremely distressing – but you can take action to help them:
- Check to see whether there’s any way that you can safely help the bird escape.
- If not, report the trapped animal immediately to the shop, council, or organisation responsible for the netting. It has a legal responsibility to release the bird and prevent more birds from being trapped.
- Contact the relevant authorities. In England or Wales, call the RSPCA’s cruelty line on 0300 1234 999. In Scotland, call the Scottish SPCA’s animal helpline on 03000 999 999. In Northern Ireland, call the police on 0300 200 7840. And in Ireland, call the ISPCA’s cruelty helpline on 1890 515 515. Take photographs as evidence, and give as much information as you can about the bird’s location and condition. Ask that an inspector visit the location.
For ongoing problems in England and Wales, such as netting in which you have repeatedly seen birds become entangled, you can also e-mail the RSPCA at [email protected], call local police on 101, or contact the council.
Call For an End to Cruel Pigeon Racing
PETA US has exposed the suffering and deaths of thousands of birds at the gruelling South African Million Dollar Pigeon Race. On average, only 22% of the 5,000 birds entered into the competition survive to the end of the final race. In 2020, a quarter of birds died in quarantine or transport, and almost 3,000 more succumbed in training flights or races to exhaustion, dehydration, starvation, or attacks by predators. Just 125 made it to the finish. Pigeon fanciers have a term for this kind of event – they call it a “slaughter race”.
Please take action to prevent more pigeons from suffering in cruel races.