How Many Pigeons in NYC | Let’s Find Out

In New York City, pigeons are a common sight due to domestication. People rear this bird for companionship and pigeon racing in the early eighteenth century. But, you may ask, how many pigeons are in NYC?

Today, there are over one million pigeons in NYC. One pigeon per one person.

In Manhattan, there are so many pigeons due to the enormous human population in the City. These birds came with European migrants to the United States of America in the sixteenth century.

New Yorkers love pigeons due to their domestic nature, and people raise them for food, sports, and companionship.

How Many Pigeons in NYC

The Legality of Keeping and Feeding Pigeons in New York City

People can build and design pigeon houses for raising. You can feed them in their cages or even on the streets. Keeping and feeding pigeons is legal in NYC. But what is unlawful is failing to clean up the food remnants that could have littered around the area.

In this case, someone could sue you for messing up the environment. On the other hand, raising pigeons is an ideal thing. But you can train them in their coops. These can help to protect them from too much cold and heat.

If you want to hunt for pigeons on public or private properties using traps, you must have a permit. Therefore, you cannot report the pet owners to the authorities when the birds are causing nuisance in the environment.

Laws Enacted to Protect Pigeons

Pigeons are regarded as foreign birds. There is no regulation issued by the state or federal authorities to protect these birds from human molestation and predation. In most cases, native birds are protected by the migratory bird treaty act. This was enacted in the United States in the year 1918.

Therefore, killing birds is illegal in the country. Also, pigeons are not seen as endangered species and are at risk of extinction.

The Invasiveness of Pigeons in NYC

New york city pigeons on the steet

Due to the domestic nature of rock dove pigeons, they are considered invasive nature. Most persons usually report the nuisance caused by these birds to the authorities. But no sanction is issued against the owners.

They are only requested to clean up the areas after feeding the birds in public properties such as street squares or marketplaces.

Also, they produce large quantities of feces that could be used as green manure for garden crops. But the pigeon droppings are seen as sources of pollution in the environment. They also carry various diseases transferrable to human beings.

However, these birds are not only in New York; they are seen in virtually every home in the cities and suburbs of America. Pigeons originated from various continents of the World, such as Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. They have been used as pets in these places for over five thousand years ago.

The Species of New York Pigeons

The type of pigeons you can find in NYC is known as rock dove pigeons. They could be identified with the following features:

  • Thick gray and white feathers.
  • Stout body appearance.
  • Short neck.

In New York City, you can see these birds making their nests on the girders of bridges. They also build their homes in the ledges of buildings and any available space around the houses.

pigeons on rooftop

Reasons Why Pigeons are Vanishing from NYC

On the other hand, these amazing birds are vanishing and disappearing from New York City due to various reasons such as:

  • Trapping and hunting.
  • Loss of their homes or habitat.
  • Predating by dogs, eagles, cats, and other dangerous animals.

However, if you see pigeons with bands on their legs, it is illegal to kill them. If you have the license to trap or hunt pigeons, you can do so, especially when they are seen as a nuisance in the area.

Which City has the Most Pigeons in the World?

The City with the largest population of pigeons n the World is New York City. But the country with the largest number of pigeons for sports is Taiwan.


Pigeons exist as domestic pets and wild birds. These birds are not in danger of extinction and cannot be regarded as endangered species. Mostly, they are non-native birds with no established law to stop humans from killing and consuming pigeons. However, there are over a million pigeons in New York City due to the large population of humans. People are keen on keeping pigeons, and most pet owners rear the bird for consumption, racing, or petting.

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