Unlike many many millions of people, I, much like Bert the Muppet, LOVE pigeons.
They crack me up to no end, walking right along with us bustling city workers, bobbing their heads, casually strolling in front of traffic and otherwise taking hold of this crazy city called Chicago.
I think they’re very fun and interesting, with definite personalities…
so imagine my joy when I found a pigeon nest under my new deck! Two eggs, and soon after, two pigeons that I’ve watched grow for approximately a month now. I learned from Cecil that pigeons stay in the nest, well hidden until they’re ready to leave the nest for good…so when I saw them last night, plump and covered in slate gray feathers, sticking their heads out to look at my dog, I figured the time was near.
This morning, I encountered mayhem. The nest was a shambles. I saw a pigeon foot, two bloody pigeon wings, what appeared to be a heart and a liver, and general pieces of bloody pigeon innards scattered across the nest area. The babies had been attacked.
My question is. What the hell happened? I live on the third floor of a Chicago apartment. A cat would have to scale the wall, and I don’t think squirrels eat pigeons. Do pigeon mother’s cannibalize? Do other birds eat them? It’s not like I live in an eagle habitat.
Anyway, I’m sad. I watched those li’l babies get born and now they’re gone
Could be almost anything. In that position if you’re sure it couldn’t have been a cat (the most obvious culprit) then my next guess would be a rat. There’s nowhere those little buggers can’t get to and they’re quite omnivorous. Any number of shrike type birds could also cause that type of damage.
What a torture for my poor, sensitive heart as I love pigeons ALMOST as much as I love squirrels. Next thing you’ll be telling me is that Chicago is flying three toed sloths in to control the squirrel population.
I do not believe that squirrels are on the three-toed sloth’s normal menu.
Squirrels, as well as European Starlings and House (European) Sparrows, are among the top non-human causes for the decline of several native bird species, especially the Eastern Bluebird, taking over the nesting areas and killing the parents/fledglings and damaging eggs.
Sorry to hear about the critters. Rest in the fact that some other creature did not go to bed hungry. Not to mention the fact that if the parents are unharmed, they may likely have another brood.
I also live in Chicago, and occasionally pigeons will try to nest on my balcony. The male will peck one or two females half to death to get them to stay in one place. I have also seen them make a nest in a pile of their own droppings.
“Most large cities have transplanted Peregrine falcons to help control the pigeon population.”
I can say for certain that there are peregrine falcons in Chicago, as I have seen one! It landed on the wide ledge of my boss’ office when I worked on one of the tower floors (above the 21st floor) in the Britannica building, Jackson and Michigan. Apparently, they like ledges with a good view of Grant Park and all the pigeons therein ripe for the taking on the open ground. The entire office stopped work for ten minutes as everyone crept slowly into the boss’ office to see the falcon without scaring it away.
And a week before we saw the falcon, there was a pigeon’s head, neatly severed, on the ledge outside the office next to mine. We all joked with that worker about which mobsters he must have run afoul of, as the pigeon’s head was surely a warning like the horse’s head in the Godfather. We suspected a falcon, but weren’t sure until we saw it the next week.
I have to give a hearty hurrah for the falcons, because anything that gets rid of the filthy pigeons crapping on passersby as they walk under the L or a building ledge is inherently good.
Don’t be so sure it was a falcon. I know several cows that do the same thing. It is indeed a treasure to see the graceful cow scale the side of a building, deftly swipe up the unsuspecting pigeon, maul it in what can only be described as nature’s true ballet, and scamper off to relish it’s fresh kill.