Pigeons are one of the most common birds for humans. For many of us, doves are a symbol of peace and love. They can be found everywhere - in the city, and in the countryside, and outside. Pigeons inhabit almost the entire globe, with the exception, of course, of the northern regions of the earth. Some people even breed them at home, but few people know that in addition to domestic and urban, there are also wild pigeons. We have been living with them so closely and for a long time that the question arises - how long these birds live and what determines their lifespan.
What affects life expectancy?
Before you understand how many years these birds live, you need to take a closer look at the three main species.
- City birds are one of the most popular and numerous birds. They live both in large settlements and in villages and villages. They are easy to train and can even be hand-fed in some places. The most typical urban representative is the rock dove.
- Wild pigeons live in wild conditions - in mountains, forests and even on rocks, rocky river banks. Typical representatives of these breeds are gray pigeon, turtle dove, rock pigeon and others.
- Domestic pigeons are the brightest representatives of their family. They are beautiful and well-groomed. Domestic pigeons are bred mainly for exhibitions, festive events (mostly weddings). Outstanding representatives of this species are such breeds as Roman giants, Chinese gulls, Permian hryvnias and others.
Experts have found that the average lifespan of pigeons is 20 years. However, there were also centenarians who lived up to 35 years. Basically, those individuals who live in comfortable conditions survive up to this age, and it does not matter if it is urban, domestic or wild pigeons. Those birds that live in the south, of course, live longer, unlike their northern counterparts, but domestic northern birds also do not live long. Here it is not only a matter of diet and living conditions, but also the number of sunny days per year. The main factors influencing the lifespan of pigeons can be grouped into two groups.
- Climate and habitat. Of course, in a northern climate, pigeons live much less than in a southern one. Their lifespan is influenced by natural conditions (frequency of precipitation, wind speed and strength, air temperature). The length of daylight also affects, but these birds, when compared with their southern counterparts, are more hardy and stronger. Wild pigeons, unlike domestic and urban pigeons, live even less.
They, in addition to the influence of natural conditions, are attacked every day by predators. They need not only to look for food for themselves, but also to protect themselves and their nest from the attack of other animals and even from people.
- Disease and Nutrition. Each of the species of pigeons has its own feeding habits. Wild pigeons can only eat what they can get themselves during the season. They feed on the "gifts of nature": flower seeds, artisanal berries, crops. In the cold season, they have a hard time, because, unlike animals, they do not know how to make supplies for the winter. City pigeons, although they live on the street, are much easier for them - in squares and parks people periodically feed them. In winter, some residents hang bird feeders on trees; in the yards near garbage containers, you can find separate places where residents pour food waste. Domestic pigeons are in more pleasant conditions, they always have complete balanced food and clean water.
City pigeons are most susceptible to disease. A large amount of garbage, the lack of adequate clean water are sources of infections and diseases. Wild pigeons can carry disease from other birds and animals. During migration, they can pick up and bring with them diseases from other regions and even countries.
Average life indicators of pigeons
If you do not take into account what specific species of pigeons are in question, then on average these birds live from 8 to 15 years. But even here it is necessary to take into account the living conditions, whether he has access to food and water, whether he is threatened by an attack from other birds and animals, whether the bird is sick.
They began to breed pigeons at home about five thousand years ago. They were bred for both human consumption and practical purposes (carrier pigeons) and spiritual pleasure. Nowadays, pigeons are bred for holidays and participation in exhibitions and shows, so they are properly cared for.
Domestic birds live much longer than their wild and urban counterparts, the owners provide them with all comfortable conditions, cages and aviaries, warm and protected from cold and bad weather. In addition, they always have plenty of food and are saturated with all the necessary additives, there is always clean water freely available.
Important! When breeding pigeons at home, they are always vaccinated and monitored for their health. Under these conditions, a domestic pigeon can live up to 25 years.
Birds living on the streets of settlements, in the city or village, are in better conditions than wild birds. They are periodically fed by residents of cities, it is easier for them to get food for themselves. Weather conditions practically do not affect the lifespan of street birds, predators do not hunt or attack them. However, these birds are more than two other species susceptible to disease and infection. Diseases such as trichomoniasis, goiter and other infectious diseases have a strong impact on their longevity.
The cause of disease is simple - they often find food for themselves near garbage containers, besides, clean water is not always available in the city.
Important! On average, a city pigeon can live up to 10 years.
A bird living in the wild, although it lives in its natural habitat, is constantly endangered. As noted above, in addition to the fact that they are forced to find their own food, they are also susceptible to attack by predators (foxes, martens, birds of prey). But such conditions allow him to be alert, fast and nimble, otherwise it will be difficult for him to feed himself and his offspring.
Important! In the northern regions, the average life span of birds is 5 years.
If the bird lives in southern latitudes, then in the wild it can live up to 8 years.
As from any rule, in our case there is an exception - there are birds that live quite a long time. Among the record holders for life expectancy is the pigeon that lives in England. He is now over 25 years old. This bird did not live in the wild and was not a city pigeon, such a long life was ensured by a woman named Valeria Whittingham. She picked up the bird on the street, was able to go out and feed it.
Before that, the woman had two more birds, which died at the age of 22 and 23 years. The woman provided all her pets with proper care, clean water and vitamins. And it must also be said that all her birds did not belong to the breeds of domestic pigeons, but were picked up from the street.
Important! From time to time, there are pigeons in the world that live for more than 20 years.
According to unconfirmed reports, there are pigeons, the age of which reaches 35 years.
How to determine age?
The most accurate determination of the age of a pigeon is possible in two periods of its life. The first is when the bird is very young and the first year of its life is, and the second period, on the contrary, when the bird is already quite old. During these periods, external age-related changes are most characteristic and noticeable. Different experts determine the age of birds in different ways according to external data, in any case, then the age will be approximate. In addition, each breed of bird, especially one with rich and bright plumage, has its own visual changes in appearance with age.
It is worth paying attention to the following signs by which you can understand the approximate age of the bird:
- at about 10 weeks, young chicks are still not large enough, and their cooing resembles a squeak;
- closer to 5 months, males begin to care for females, puberty begins;
- at 6 or 7 months, pigeons molt for the first time;
- adults over 5 years old can be recognized by their paws, or rather their color - at this age, the color of the paws becomes weak and pale.
Another simple and affordable way for everyone to determine the age of a bird is by the beak, or rather by the type of wax. Wax is a skin formation that grows on the top of the bird's beak, near the nostrils. In very young chicks, it is pink, smooth and tender.
Starting at three months, it becomes lighter and loses its pink color.
Closer to seven months, the wax is already finally formed, it has a white color. We can say that during this period the pigeon fully matured and became independent, moreover, at 5-6 months the pigeon reaches sexual maturity. By the age of four, the wax becomes coarse, then it no longer changes its appearance. Further determination of age by the beak and visually will already be difficult for an ordinary person.
Important! The age of birds can be determined by the beak and eyelid. Young chicks have a soft beak and thin eyelids; in adults, the beak is harder, and the eyelid is white and rough.
Professional bird watchers use special rings to more accurately determine the age of birds. Such rings are worn on the legs of pigeons. With their help, the exact age of the bird is determined up to hours. And also thanks to such rings, you can track the migration of birds and their habitats.
For how long pigeons live, see the next video.