Many people wondered about pigeons’ efficiency in passing over the ocean as they are supposed to move on the land as their nests are present in populated areas.
Can Pigeons Fly Over the Ocean? Pigeons can fly over the ocean as their lighter bodies have to make fewer efforts to fly due to air currents and compression gliding. Racing pigeons are known to fly over the Pacific Ocean, covering almost 8000 miles to reach Australia. Furthermore, they move across oceans when they need food and a safe shelter to live in and avoid predators.
Most probably, you are considering pigeons as land birds that can only fly over buildings, roofs, and trees and go to sleep at night in the quiet places of the city.
Furthermore, it is true that they can cross the Pacific and Atlantic oceans due to their lightweight bodies, which support the farthest flying and smaller size. However, this is not true for all types of pigeons.
Why do pigeons fly over the ocean?
Many birds have developed the ability to move across oceans like seabirds and Alpine swifts. As a result, they are known as ideal birds for migrating long distances and moving to farthest areas.
They are efficient flying birds as their lighter bodies allow them to move higher in the sky and cover a long distance.
Some racing pigeons can fly over the Pacific Ocean, which is about 9000 miles longer to know about their speed, depending on the time taken to return to their nests.
In addition, it helps the researcher understand that these can move their wings over water due to their lightweight and efficient flapping.
Most commonly, they go out in search of food and to sleep at night but return to their nesting spots in the morning to take care of the eggs.
They rarely have to move to a region after crossing seas, particularly when they have no food resources in their old habitat.
Accordingly, they move to a new location in search of a favorable habitat that provides a good food source and safe shelter to live without fear of attack from predators.
They do not leave their nests and territories until they find them unsafe, which can pose a risk to their survival. So, they keep flying without breaks as they cannot stand on water.
Furthermore, the racing pigeons are also known for flying across the Atlantic Ocean. Still, every type of these bird has not the same potential to glide over water continuously for many days.
How long can pigeons fly over the ocean?
Different types of pigeons have varying capacities to fly over the oceans according to their body weight and size.
In addition, they are known to cover almost 620 miles to 700 miles in a day without taking rest or having any breaks.
Young wood pigeons are more active in taking long flights than the older ones and migrate to farther areas. They are involved in autumn flights and move across seas.
Moreover, racing pigeons are known to cover around 6500 to 7000 miles to reach England as their final destination, which took almost 50 to 55 days.
However, fantail pigeons are fancy birds that cannot fly well, and their flight is limited to a certain height and distance, unlike regular ones.
The tail structure, heavyweight, and silky feathers of these fantail birds make them unable to take a long-distance flight over the water.
How do pigeons fly over the ocean?
They use air currents to fly over the ocean, giving their bodies energy to go higher in the sky and come closer to water.
The position of wings can help deflect air in the downward direction generating an upward force to push them higher.
A horizontally blowing wind in the direction of their flight helps reduce the energy consumption required for flight.
Moreover, they prefer to fly closer to the water surface as the compression gliding phenomenon keeps them in air for many hours and days.
The aerodynamic force and air compression between the lower surface of their wings and the upper surface of water act like a cushion and keeps them in the air.
In addition, there are not any obstacles in their way towards a destination spot when they have to reach across seas like big buildings, poles, wires, etc.
They can move freely in any direction because no barrier can slow down their speed.
Furthermore, they move forward by conserving energy as water helps them move forward through wind currents, pushing them upward and lifting their bodies in the air.
Do pigeons take a rest while flying over the ocean?
It is interesting to know how pigeons can fly over the oceans for many days without taking a rest for even a minute because they cannot land on the water’s surface.
There is a risk of drowning and becoming prey to larger fish; that’s why they cannot afford to land on the oceans and keep moving towards their destination.
Moreover, they usually move forward by keeping one of their eyes closed to enjoy sleep as their brain is designed to switch off one side when the right hemisphere is working.
There is no adverse effect on their flight due to less disturbance in their sleep-wake cycle that can otherwise decrease their energy to glide in the air.
They can enjoy a meal by eating the flying insects that are hovering close to the water’s surface. It helps overcome all the nutritional requirements and keeps their systems in working conditions.
Furthermore, they can move closer to the water surface when they want to clean their dusty wings by pouring a few drops of water on feathers.
They can only enjoy this quick landing that remains for only 2 to 3 seconds to ensure their survival, as predators in the ocean can engulf these small birds quickly.