7 Sounds And Noises Pigeons Make (How To Identify Them)

gray pigeon in nature

You probably are not a stranger to the sight of pigeons flying around. Believe it or not, pigeons are one of the most intelligent birds. Their intelligence is partly because of the sounds and noises they make to communicate. But what sounds do pigeons make? 

Cooing and grunting are the most common sounds pigeons make. Baby pigeons squeak and whistle when they need something from a parent, and hiss if they feel threatened by a predator. In addition, pigeons make noises with their wings and feet before takeoff and during flight.

The sounds pigeons make are pretty interesting and give a wonderful insight into how the bird species adapts to various situations. Here’s a thorough dive into the seven sounds and noises pigeons make. 

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Pigeons Coo To Communicate And Mate With Each Other 

The most familiar noise pigeons make is the cooing sound. You undoubtedly have heard a cooing pigeon, but have you wondered why they make the common sound?

They can use cooing for many reasons, including communicating with other pigeons, mating, and if they need to defend their territory. 

Pigeons breed throughout the year, so you can hear cooing sounds year-round. While you may listen to the sounds most in the summer, it’s only because the temperatures are warmer for pigeons to be out and about. 

Pigeons will breed up to eight times a year, laying anywhere from 1 to 3 eggs each time. Pigeons can reuse the same nest and may just add new sticks and branches to ensure the nest is sturdy. 

As a fun fact, pigeons mate for life, so they are set forever once their cooing woos in another pigeon. Ah, true love. However, they will try to find a new mate if their original partner dies. 

Here’s another interesting tidbit about pigeons. If two females cannot find mates, they will pair up together. While the eggs they lay are infertile, it allows them to have a mate still. 

While pigeons coo to find a mate, they also coo as a sign of affection once they have found one. The coos made for love are softer, elongated, and much more relaxed than other signs a pigeon may coo. 

In addition, a pigeon may coo as a human approaches because they see you as a potential threat. 

Cooing occurs when a pigeon uses their vocal cords and air sac. The pigeon must tighten its throat while forcing air out. It sounds a bit tricky, doesn’t it?

If you have pigeons cooing nearby, you can take a look at our guide on the scents pigeons hate to keep them away!

Baby Pigeons Make Squeaking and Whistling Sounds 

Closeup of two seven days old baby racing pigeons chicks with their mother sitting in a nest on the pigeon loft

A baby pigeon cannot make the same coo as an adult pigeon. While it only takes about two months to make the deeper sound, baby pigeons begin their lives by squeaking. 

Baby pigeons are called squabs or squeakers and will make whistling noises to gain their parents’ attention to let them know they are hungry. A baby pigeon may also make a squeaking sound if they simply want attention. 

Baby pigeons also squeak if they are injured or lost. Since baby pigeons only make squeaking and whistling sounds at a young age, it’s often because they need help from another pigeon. 

If you hear the sounds of a baby pigeon, there is a good chance a nest isn’t too far away. However, most people never get to see a baby pigeon in the wild. 

Baby pigeons stay put in their nest until they can fly. Unfortunately, baby pigeons run the risk of falling out of their nest and then rely on another pigeon to fly it back home. 

Pigeons Grunt When They Are In Trouble

If a pigeon senses it is in trouble, it will begin grunting. Pigeons also use this technique to warn other pigeons of potential danger. Grunts are usually short and not dragged out like when pigeons coo. 

As soon as a pigeon sees a predator, they will begin grunting as a heads up to other pigeons. Pigeons also will make a grunting sound if they are being attacked. 

Some predators to pigeons are raccoons, hawks, cats, opossums, and owls. Pigeons don’t just stop at a grunt or two when coming face to face with a predator.

They will continue grunting until they feel safe again. If you have a pet pigeon who has begun grunting, you want to ensure it is not injured or sick. 

Baby Pigeons Hiss If A Predator Gets Too Close 

Newborn pigeons do not have many defenses against predators. However, the small birds will hiss if an intruder gets too close for comfort. 

The young pigeons will also snap their beaks at the potential predator to protect their nest. 

Since a baby pigeon isn’t ready to leave the nest until they are about two months old, they must find ways to protect themselves in the meantime. 

While pigeons cannot see when first born, they can eventually see objects up to 25 miles away. Surprisingly, it only takes a few weeks from birth to develop this fantastic eyesight. For this reason, baby pigeons can tell if a predator is flying towards them. 

In addition, pigeons have fantastic hearing and can hear low-frequency sounds humans cannot hear. If an approaching predator makes any noise, the baby pigeons will be on high alert. 

Luckily for baby pigeons, their parents are highly involved and will check on their babies in between trying to find food. Pigeons make excellent parents. 

Pigeons Clap Their Wings Right Before Takeoff 

flock homing pigeo flying over home loft roof

Another distinguishable sound made by pigeons is the speed at which they clap their wings. If you have ever witnessed a pigeon before they fly off, you can probably get a pretty good visual in your head. 

The clapping sound occurs when the pigeon slaps the feathers and muscles of their wings together. You can even hear the unique sound echoing through city streets. 

Pigeons often make the clapping sound if something nearby surprises them and quickly go into flight. 

Finally, male pigeons also make the clapping sound after mating as a way to show off. The male pigeon is proud of themselves and has no problem showing it.

You’re most likely to hear this sound during the day when pigeons are more active.

Pigeons’ Wings Make A Whistling Sound During Flight

When a pigeon flaps their wings, they make a whistling sound. A normal takeoff produces a soft whistle, but if they sense danger and start flapping quickly, a louder whistle sound will emerge. 

Pigeons also let out the whistling sound to alert other pigeons of potential trouble in the area. Nearby pigeons will quickly fly into the air when they hear the whistling sound of another pigeon. 

If you see a pigeon with an almost exaggerated takeoff, they are likely in distress and eager to get away. 

Pigeons Stomp Their Feet If They Feel Threatened

Pigeons have some pretty incredible moves when they start stomping their feet. There are several reasons why you may hear a pigeon stomp around. 

Pigeons may thump or stomp their feet if they believe something is coming towards them and feel threatened. In addition, if something is caught on their feet, they will stomp to remove the foreign object. Pigeons will also stomp their feet if they are annoyed at something. 

Unfortunately, pigeons can get loose hairs wrapped around their toes and feet, causing them to lose circulation. Human hair can be quite dangerous for little pigeon feet. 

If you have a pet pigeon, you will always want to investigate further if your bird is unusually stomping their feet. If not taken care of, pigeon toes sometimes have to be amputated due to tight hair. 

Physical Ways Pigeons Communicate 

Many pigeons eating food

Pigeons use sounds and noises to communicate, as well as showing communication through physical means. 

For starters, a male looking to mate will put on a bit of a show for an eligible female. The male pigeon nods his head at the female and spreads his tail feathers. If the female is interested, she will reciprocate the nod. It’s pretty romantic when you think about it. 

Male pigeons will also stomp their feet on the floor and fluff their breast feathers during mating. The final act of mating is known as the pigeon kiss. It’s a bit of a courtship ritual in the pigeon world. 

The kiss is a little awkward as the male opens its beak for the female to insert her beak into his. Sometimes the male will even regurgitate into the female’s mouth. While fairly disgusting, it’s at this moment that the pair have officially bonded and will mate. 

About ten days after mating, the first eggs are laid, and a family is created. The eggs will hatch in just under three weeks, and the chicks will leave the nest when they are about a month old, depending on the season. 

Finally, pigeons also bob their heads to ensure they can see various objects in their surrounding areas. For example, a pigeon’s eyes are on the side of their head, unlike humans, so they need to get creative when checking out what’s around them. 

While we humans can move our eyes in a wide range, pigeons will usually keep its head in place before suddenly thrusting them into a new position. A pigeon’s body must catch up to the sudden movement of the head. During this part, the head will remain motionless. 

So, next time you see a pigeon bobbing its head, you will know it’s trying to provide a different viewpoint for itself. 

What To Do If You Hear Pigeons Around Your House 

A pigeon here or there isn’t a tremendous deal, but you do not want them flocking around your house.

Pigeons can be found almost anywhere, including farms, bridges, city buildings, parks, and feed mills. In addition, pigeons can get noisy, and since they do not sing sweet melodies like other birds, you will not want to wake up to it every day. 

If you find the pigeon using the outside of your house as a bathroom, there are ways to avoid it. In fact, we have an article keeping pigeons off your balcony. It can get tiresome cleaning up daily if you constantly have flocks of pigeons around. 

Pigeon droppings can ruin vegetation and cause corrosion to buildings. If you own a farm, you want to ensure the pigeons don’t feed on the mills as it can lead to contamination. 

Most pigeons fly off during the day to find food but will be back by nightfall to rest. In addition, pigeons will check on their young during the day, often visiting their nest if they recently had babies. 

To keep pigeons out long term, do the following: 

  • Put up decoys to keep pigeons away.
  • Spray the hose at any pigeons causing a nuisance. It may take a few times, but the pigeons will remember your house isn’t a pleasant place to be after a while. 
  • Do not leave food out. Whether intentional or not, you want to remove all food. sources, so the pigeons do not associate your house with a place to find food.
  • Contact a professional if you are having difficulty getting pigeons to stay away. Sometimes it takes an expert to help get rid of significant issues. 

One scent you can use to deter pigeons from the list linked above is vinegar. Lucy’s Family Owned – Natural Distilled White Vinegar is a great place to start! It comes in 1 gallon bottles, so it will last you a while!

If you find an injured pigeon in your yard, it’s best to call a wildlife expert who can help the hurt little guy (or gal). Some people will adopt pigeons that can’t quite make it in the real world. 

However, never keep one you find outside your house. You do not know what diseases they may carry. If you are keen on adopting a pigeon, a local wildlife association can help you find your perfect fit. 

That’s A Wrap!

As you can see, pigeons make a variety of sounds and noises to communicate. While some noises are out of distress or fear, some are to attract a mate and find their lifelong partner. 

While young pigeons cannot quite coo like an adult, they make squeaking and whistling sounds when they need their mother. They are also quite bright and can try their best to ward off predators. 

Pigeons coo, grunt, squeak, whistle, and make noises with their wings and feet. Pigeons also communicate physically when mating and in distress. 

Pigeons can become a nuisance if they are constantly flocking around your house or using your balcony as a bathroom. Avoid leaving food outside to prevent attracting pigeons to your home. 

While some people keep pigeons as pets, you do not want to catch a wild pigeon to save as your own. Pigeons can carry many diseases potentially dangerous to people and animals. Contact a local wildlife association for help if you find a hurt pigeon. 

References 

Castoro, Paul L., and A. M. Guhl. “Pairing behavior of pigeons related to aggressiveness and territory.” The Wilson Bulletin (1958): 57-69.

Jankowiak Ł, Tryjanowski P, Hetmański T, Skórka P. Experimentally evoked same-sex sexual behaviour in pigeons: better to be in a female-female pair than alone. Sci Rep. 2018

Mosco, Rosemary. A Pocket Guide to Pigeon Watching: Getting to Know the World’s Most Misunderstood Bird. Workman Publishing, 2021.

Theunissen LM, Troje NF. Head Stabilization in the Pigeon: Role of Vision to Correct for Translational and Rotational Disturbances. Front Neurosci. 2017

Weber, Walter. “Pigeon associated people diseases.” Bird Control Seminars Proceedings. 1979.

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