In all the years I’ve lived in this city, I’ve never seen a baby pigeon
In all the years I’ve lived in this city, I’ve never seen a baby pigeon. Do they exist?—Paul Robineau, Harbourfront
Back before pigeons became the brash urbanistas of the avian world, their natural haunts were rugged clifftops in southern Asia. So it’s hardly surprising that their descendants choose to build nests in the hidden nooks and crannies of bridges and office buildings. What is surprising is that the pushy birds are actually closet family types who spoil their kids rotten. Usually laying only two eggs at a time, mama birds keep squabs (as the babes are known) sequestered in the nest for up to four weeks, where they gorge on a diet of “pigeon milk”—a rich, fatty substance specially regurgitated by Mom and Dad. By the end of this short but blissful upbringing, the youngsters are already full grown, at which point they are summarily kicked out of the nest to begin life on the cruel city streets. No wonder they’re such ill-tempered fowl.