We have seen a flock of pigeons chasing each other in mid-air that looks magnificent. It seems like they are coordinating their movements to remain connected to each other.
Why Do Pigeons Chase Each Other? Pigeons chase each other to protect babies, avoid attacks, show possessiveness, assert dominance over others, seek comfort, and express stress. Moreover, it can happen during a territorial dispute and be a playful act by these birds. They usually follow each other for mating and compete for resources.
Pigeons express needs through actions as they cannot speak, and there is always a potential reason for their behaviors, like puffing, cooing, bobbing, chasing, jumping, etc.
Chasing behavior is commonly found in many bird species, but this behavior is associated with varying reasons, as some follow when they are under stress, and others chase when happy.
Territorial fights are common in a few species of pigeons that cannot tolerate any interference in their permanent nests. They make every possible effort to ward off the intruders from territories.
They begin to chase intruders trying to enter their roosting locations and nest, which helps show aggression for their intruding behaviors.
Moreover, they keep following the birds of the same or different species until they get out of the territories and stop getting closer to their nests.
This territorial behavior is prominent in wood pigeons as they can strike opponents with wings or chase them to show aggression.
So, it can be a way of claiming the territory when other pigeon tries to enter their space and nests. Some other threatening acts also accompany the chasing behavior to push them away.
Avoid attacks from predators
They have an increased risk of deadly attacks from falcons, hawks, and owls when they are moving alone because they lack a natural mechanism for defense.
Their primary instinct to avoid attacks is flying away from the predators, and these birds develop strategies to avoid the predator attacks.
One of the common strategies is group movement, when these pigeons chase each other to remain at a close distance, as it is easy to capture a bird moving alone.
So, they go out to collect the food in groups, and the pigeons follow each other. This behavior ensures group movement and keeps them connected when out of nests.
It helps birds seek comfort because they cannot survive stress as it affects their lifestyle. Accordingly, they keep closer to each other to avoid the stress of attacks.
Protect their babies
They are concerned about the safety and protection of babies or squabs because natural predators keep looking for a chance to attack and kill their eggs.
Accordingly, adult pigeons or parents follow their babies when moving close to the nests to protect them from undesired situations.
The predators rarely attack a baby bird when the parental flock protects it, as all these birds build a protective shelter around it.
In addition, their parents begin to chase an intruding pigeon when it tries to go near their babies, intending to harm them. This act of following each other can help save the lives of squabs.
Most commonly, the pigeons’ flocks have a leader leading a flock when they are out of their nests. The selection of leaders is based on their flying speed, as the fastest bird leads a group.
The remaining birds in a flock follow their leader as it makes the navigational decisions. The leaders influence the flock as the following birds usually copy its movements.
Accordingly, the leader in a flock asserts dominance and asks others to follow their direction when looking for food in their territory.
You can consider the chasing behavior in pigeons to be a playful act commonly seen among young birds. They enjoy following each other while flying higher in the air.
It seems fun to pigeons when they follow each other, whether sitting on the ground or flying in the air. The adults also engage in this playful act when they are happy or excited.
Moreover, the young ones follow their parents when they are learning tricks to manage their flying abilities under different conditions.
So, they enjoy chasing their parents while practicing flying in the air or moving on the ground because their parents teach them to fly with a skill that can help them avoid predators.
Fight for resources
They are possessive about their nest and resources as they do not share their food and water sources with other birds of nearby territories at any cost.
They fight and push other pigeons away from their nests to protect their resources. Moreover, these birds can only share food with their babies and birds of the same flock living together.
However, they chase a bird that tries to get closer to their food trays to steal the food and drink water. In addition, they do not share their perching spots, which can be a rod or a tree branch.
They react aggressively when they see a strange bird in their roosting locations and chase them away to protect their resources and relaxing spots.
Male pigeons usually follow their mating partners to show that they are interested in mating, as this behavior helps engage the attention of the female mate.
They follow a female bird flying in the air or moving on the ground to show their competence and desire for mating.
Many males follow a female to impress her, but only one of them gets a chance to breed with her, depending on their strength and competency. They also kiss each other.
In addition, the mating pair mates for life and tries to chase away any other pigeon when it tries to grab the attention of females by getting closer to their nests.
They suffer from stress when a new pet pigeon enters the cage in which two other pigeons are already living. The older birds can feel anxious to see the new member in their space.
These birds do not feel comfortable sharing their space and resources, so they feel a threat of attack from it. However, the new pet bird sits silently in the corner until it feels comfortable.
I observed this kind of behavior when I added a new pigeon to a cage with 4 birds. All of those four birds were moving away from the new one and started following each other.
Accordingly, the older members usually show this chasing behavior to seek comfort and prefer to stay away from the new bird until they recognize it as a fellow.
Pigeons chase each other to get a first chance when moving toward the food source, indicating that there is healthy competition among the flock members.
However, birds from different flocks can also fight and try to leave other birds behind to avail themselves of the first opportunity when they have a common food source.
They consume seeds, fruits, vegetables, and insects and attack other crop fields to fulfill their body requirements. They do not have to compete in summer when there is plenty of food.
However, such competitive chasing is commonly observed during winter when their food resources are not abundantly available to these birds.
They try to reach the food source before any other pigeon from another flock; otherwise, they have to starve for food until they find a new food source.