General Biology, Reproduction, and Behavior
The puffed-up strutting bird is a male pigeon courting and showing off for a female similar to John Travolta’s dance moves in Saturday Night Fever. Males fluff their iridescent neck feathers, reflecting shimmering green, bronze, and purple; they spread their tail feathers and parade around or dance in a circle around the female; they coo loudly. Pigeon courtship peaks in springtime in urban areas.
Pigeon nests are often rudimentary and skimpy creations, consisting of sticks, twigs, and grasses clumped together to form a crude platform. They may lay their eggs on an air conditioning unit, on the window of a city building, or on the floor of a balcony.
Eight to twelve days after mating, the female pigeons lay one or two eggs that hatch after approximately 18 days. The male provides nesting materials and guards the female and the nest. The young leave the nest approximately 30 days after hatching. More eggs are laid before the first clutch (the collective eggs a bird lays at one time) leaves the nest. Breeding may occur at all seasons, but peak reproduction occurs in the spring and fall.
In urban populations, however, pigeons seldom live more than 3 or 4 years. Natural mortality factors, such as predation by mammals and other birds, diseases, and stress due to lack of food and water, reduces pigeon populations by approximately 30% annually.
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