When walking through the city, it is common to see pigeons pecking away at the ground, searching for food. But have you ever wondered what these birds eat?
Pigeons are ubiquitous in urban and suburban environments, and they have adapted to eat various foods. While most people associate them with scavenging for scraps of bread or other human food, they have a diverse diet. Pigeons eat fruits, vegetables, seeds, grains, nuts, and insects.
Here, I’ll cover their primary diet, what they eat in the wild, what foods you can offer them if you want to attract them to your yard, and what you should avoid feeding them. So, keep reading to learn more about what pigeons eat.
What Is The Natural Diet of Pigeons?
Pigeons exhibit an omnivorous feeding behavior, whereby their dietary regime comprises both plant and animal constituents. However, their natural diet mainly consists of seeds, grains, and fruits.
These birds have strong beaks that help them crack open seeds and grains to extract the nutritious insides. Let’s take a closer look at what makes up the natural diet of pigeons.
Seeds And Grains
Pigeons, in their natural habitat, subsist primarily on seeds and grains. In the wild, these birds consume diverse seeds, encompassing millet, corn, wheat, and sunflower seeds. Additionally, they ingest grains such as barley and oats, albeit not in excessive quantities.
While it is not recommended that these grains form the crux of their diet, they contribute a significant amount of nutrients to the birds when consumed as a part of a balanced diet.
Fruits And Berries
In addition to their preferred diet of seeds and grains, pigeons exhibit a discerning palate for an array of fruits and berries. Grapes, raisins, plums, cherries, and blueberries are commonly consumed among these.
Bananas, apples (excluding the seeds), and pears also make for desirable options, albeit necessitating careful chopping into smaller portions to mitigate the risk of choking.
While it is widely known that pigeons do not hold a proclivity towards vegetables, it is noteworthy to mention that certain varieties are still viable dietary options for these avian species.
Leafy greens, particularly spinach, lettuce, and kale, provide valuable sources of nutrients for these birds. Additionally, root vegetables such as carrots, turnips, and other vegetables, including bell peppers and cauliflower, also make for wholesome meal choices for this avian population.
Insects And Worms
Although pigeons primarily consume seeds and grains, they have been observed to supplement their diet with insects and worms occasionally. Their feeding behavior is opportunistic, allowing them to prey on insects when they are encountered.
What Do Urban Pigeons Eat?
With the ongoing growth of urbanization, pigeons have demonstrated an ability to acclimate to a dietary regime comprising natural and human-derived food sources. These avian creatures are recognized as opportunistic feeders with a diverse appetite that allows them to consume a broad range of food items.
Human Food Waste
Urban pigeons rely heavily on human food waste as a substantial source of sustenance. These birds can frequently be observed foraging for leftovers in the vicinity of fast-food establishments, street vendors, and other communal spaces where individuals partake in meals.
Birdseed And Bread
It is common to witness individuals feeding pigeons within the confines of public spaces, namely parks. The avian creatures are often presented with bread as a form of sustenance, albeit not the most optimal source of nutrition due to its inadequate composition.
Alternatively, offering birdseed or cracked corn would serve as a more advantageous option.
Insects And Small Animals
Pigeons are recognized to partake in the consumption of insects, spiders, and diminutive creatures such as snails and worms. Such species are common in municipal settings, particularly gardens, parks, and other verdant areas.
Berries And Fruits
Urban pigeons have been observed to derive sustenance from fruits and berries, representing a supplementary source of nutrition. Apples, pears, and grapes are among the fruit types that have been noted to form part of their diverse dietary intake.
What Should You Feed Pet Pigeons?
The nourishment of pet pigeons must mirror their innate dietary habits, as they can thrive on a comparable regimen. Nevertheless, ensuring their nutritional demands are met is paramount, and feeding patterns must be varied and balanced. Below are a few directives to aid in feeding your pet pigeons in accordance with their dietary needs.
Commercial Pigeon Feed
Pigeon sustenance can be readily procured from various sources, including brick-and-mortar pet stores and online retailers.
Typically, this feed consists of a carefully curated blend of grains, seeds, and additional nutrients necessary to ensure a wholesome and balanced diet for these avian creatures.
You should exercise sound judgment when choosing a feed that is specifically formulated for pigeons. Using alternative bird feeds may not adequately provide for the specific nutritional requirements of pigeons. Therefore, it is highly recommended to opt for pigeon-specific feed.
Fresh Fruits And Vegetables
As we all know birds have a natural tendency to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, including a variety of items such as carrots, peas, apples, and berries.
These food sources provide a rich reserve of vital nutrients and minerals that contribute significantly to the overall well-being of domestic pigeons.
Adequate supplementation of fresh fruits and vegetables in your pet pigeon’s diet can help maintain their health and vitality.
Certain proprietors of pigeons may opt to augment their avian companion’s dietary intake with supplementary vitamins and minerals. Nevertheless, it is imperative that one consults a veterinary professional prior to incorporating any such supplements into their pigeon’s nutritional regimen.
Do Pigeons Eat Wasps as Part of Their Diet?
Pigeons’ insect-eating habits: truth uncovered. Pigeons are opportunistic feeders, known for their diverse diets. While they primarily consume seeds and grains, they have been observed consuming insects as well. However, there is limited evidence to suggest that pigeons specifically target wasps as part of their diet. Further research is needed to fully understand the extent of pigeons’ insect-eating habits and their preferences towards wasps.
What Foods Should You Avoid Feeding Pigeons?
Understanding the nutritional requirements of pigeons is crucial for their proper care. However, it’s equally important to be aware of the foods that can harm them. To maintain their health and happiness, avoid feeding them the following items:
It is a widely held misconception that bread is a suitable dietary option for pigeons. However, it is essential to note that bread lacks significant nutritional content and may contribute to a condition called “angel wing.”
This condition causes the bird’s wing feathers to grow in an abnormal position, leading to potential health complications. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid providing bread as a food source for these avian species.
It is advisable to refrain from offering pigeons processed edibles, such as chips, fries, and junk food. This is due to the high sodium and refined sugar content found in such food items, which can harm the health and well-being of these avian creatures.
Although this fruit has incredible health benefits for humans, it can prove fatal for birds, particularly pigeons. The reason is that avocados contain a chemical called persin, which can lead to respiratory distress and cardiac failure in avian species.
The presence of theobromine in chocolate poses a grave threat to avian species, inducing detrimental effects such as cardiac dysfunction, convulsions, and mortality.
Pigeons exhibit lactose intolerance, rendering them incapable of processing dairy-based foods such as milk, cheese, and yogurt.
Pigeons are adaptable creatures that can thrive on various foods depending on their environment. While their natural diet consists mainly of seeds and grains, urban pigeons have learned to scavenge for human foods.
As for pet pigeons, they require a balanced diet consisting of protein, grains, and vegetables. So, avoid feeding them unhealthy human foods that can lead to health problems.
These Birds possess an allure that captivates the imagination, and their indispensable contribution to ecological balance cannot be underestimated. Adopting a keen comprehension of their dietary necessities will preserve their existence and facilitate harmonious cohabitation between pigeons and humankind.