Do pigeons eat salt/de-icing chemicals?

At lunchtime I saw pigeons on the sidewalk clustered as if feeding. I did not see anything but road salt or white chemical pellets used to melt last night’s snow – I don’t know if that’s different from road salt or not.

They could have just finished off food some human put down for them, or a stray bread crust, right as I arrived, so I might have missed obvious food.

But it looked like pigeons were eating ice-melting chemicals or road salt. That stuff was small, white, and granular, like a lot of what they eat.

Isn’t that bad for them? Would they really eat it? Can they tell the difference?


I’d hope they wouldn’t but it’s possible they could. I’d say … maybe.

Considering that, a, lots of animals like salt, and that b, pigeons will eat anything, I don’t see why they wouldn’t.