Do Pigeons Migrate? Explained in 2024

Pigeons don’t migrate. At least not all do. The primary reason behind this decision happens to be their strong sense of belonging and can mark their homes. So even if they are displaced, they can always make their way back from afar.

Another reason for their stay-put nature is that they can survive the bitter cold. So they don’t find it necessary to shift during season changes.

Do pigeons migrate

Understanding Why Pigeons Don’t Migrate

While it is hard to exactly guess why they don’t migrate, researchers have come up with some
possible suggestions –

1. Breeding

Pigeon’s breeding cycle is not limited to one time a year. They can breed in multiple seasons. So it becomes exhausting for them to travel back and forth to rear their young ones.

Pigeons are monogamous, which means they have only one partner during their lifetime. And each pigeon couple can breed up to five times in a year since there are no particular mating seasons for them.

Pigeons breed the highest number of chicks in comparison to many other species of birds.

2. Availability of food

Pigeons prefer living in the city where there are more humans and as a result more food. Pigeons find it easier to survive in the garbage bins or the food that humans drop on the street.

Therefore, they prefer staying in the same place or around so that they can have easy access to survival.

3. Sense of danger

Pigeons can often easily come under attack. The preying birds make them their target which keeps the pigeons from going farther away from home.

When the pigeons’ sense danger, they spread their feathers, tuck their necks and make a growling sound that is similar to an owl’s. If the predator gets too close, the birds will smack them with their wings.

4. Surviving cold weather conditions

While most birds head south in search of a warmer place, pigeons tend to stay nearby. Pigeons tend to flock together evidently not only for protection but also for body warmth. They also have a thick coat of plumage that keeps them warm even during bitterly cold nights.

When the temperature drops to super low, pigeons enter a state known as torpor. It means their bodies enter a state where they hardly use any energy. As a result, they survive even when the temperature hits the lowest.

However, this is quite dangerous for them. When they go into a state of torpor, their reaction time is decreased as a result of using low energy. During such times, they fall prey to the hands of falcons or poachers.

In other cases of survival, they simply go into the warmer places like forests and scrubs to keep warm.

5. Protecting territories

It is necessary for pigeons to be present throughout the year to protect their homes. As pigeons don’t usually migrate, they get the chance to defend their territories from other migrating birds.

6. Energy conservation

It is necessary for pigeons to be present throughout the year to protect their homes. As pigeons don’t usually migrate, they get the chance to defend their territories from other migrating birds.

Do Pigeons Migrate From the UK?

wood pigeons do movement during autumn

Pigeons do migrate from the UK, however, they do it only within Europe. It is said that they move southward from the north for winter in Spain. Although pigeons can survive any weather and have a strong sense of relativity to home, some birds do travel around.

The types of pigeons that move around are partially migratory. They head towards the Atlantic to evade bad seasons.

Scandinavian Wood pigeons are a particular type of breed that travel from the UK to France
and Spain.

How Pigeons Return to the Same Place

Pigeon flies above the road

Research shows that pigeons can sense the earth’s electromagnetic fields. This ability is what brings them back to the place they recognize as home. No matter how many times you chase them away or try to get rid of them, they will always find their way back.

When a pigeon stays in one place for two to three months, its biology starts to register the place as home. Unless trapped and shifted elsewhere, the pigeons will keep flying back to the same place all their lives.

From early times, people have domesticated pigeons and trained them to be messengers. Therefore even when the sun is down, they can make their way back with the help of electromagnetic sounds.

It is now believed by scientists that they have both compass and map mechanisms.


Based on many types of research and analysis, it can be said as a final note that pigeons don’t migrate simply because they don’t need to. They have the capability to adapt to harsh weather conditions and can survive deep winters.

Also, migrating is not feasible for them given their cycle of breeding, where they are open to breeding all year round.

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