Behaviour and feeding

Feral pigeons live independently of but usually close to humans, their buildings, and agriculture products. Their long history could well have produced birds that are more independent of humans than ferals seem to be. And it is worth noting that even wholly wild Rock pigeons today take advantage of humans as resources for food, as in agriculture fields.

In some towns all or part of the pigeon population may fly out into the surrounding country to feed, returning to roost and nest on the buildings. The same individuals may feed both inside the town and in the surrounding fields. Feral pigeons living in large towns often feed inside the town itself. Some natural food is obtained from exposed earth or grass plots in parks and gardens but the greater part consist of bread or other artificial food which is found by them in the streets.

Feral pigeons show a strong tendency to roost in company. In a town where pigeons are abundant any good roosting site, such as a high wind-sheltered and overhung ledge, which is large enough, is almost sure to be a communal roost. On the other hand pairs and individuals that have discovered a good roosting site where there is only room for one or two, often use it throughout the year.

Much time is spent idling, preening or sun-bathing in company, especially in the early morning on sunny but cold days. The sites chosen for this are, if available, wind-sheltered edges which catch the morning sun and are backed by a wall or cliff-face which forms a ‘sun-trap’.