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Pigeon Family Photo Album - Raising Children

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Love making, the culmination of a variety of courtship rituals which include head bobbing, shoulder walking, cooing and billing. Left click on this image to see a variety of mating behaviors. More photos will be added as they become available.
The male brings pine needles to the dovecote for use in building the nest. Small sticks, bits of plant stems, straw, and other similar objects make up the nesting materials.
The male brings more pine needles to the cote. Male pigeons do most of the gathering of the nesting materials. The females do the majority of the actual nest building. A very efficient arrangement.
The male gives the pine needles to the female, who places them underneath her, forming them into a shallow basin. Pigeons do not make a very complicated nest. A few sticks and such placed loosly together.
The nest completed and awaiting the arrival of the eggs. The pair may continue to build the nest for a time even after the eggs are layed.
Egg laying has been completed. The first egg is usually layed around 5:00 PM, within ten days of parents first mating. The second egg is usually layed around 45 hours later, about 2:00 PM, two days later. Both eggs are not the same shade of white. That is because the one on the right is infertile and contains no bird. The photo of these eggs was taken on the 16th day of incubation.
The female incubates the eggs. Female pigeons incubate for about 20 hours a day, the male taking up the remaining 4 hours, usually between 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM. Prior to the laying of the second egg, incubation is not fully applied. This is so that both eggs will hatch at about the same time.
In this home made incubator, I photographed that hatching of a fantail egg. To view these photographs, left click on the incubator image.
The chicks in this photo are seven days old. They grow at an amazingly fast rate. If one grows faster than the other, it may dominate the nest and get fed the majority of food by the parents, which increases the size disparity between the youngsters. If this happens early, the small one often runts or dies from malnutrition.
The chicks in this photo are 11 days old. A noticable size disparity is present. They are, however, both healthy.
The chicks in this photo are now 18 days old. The disparity in size continued to increase.
The chicks are here 20 days old. The size difference is easily noticed. The one with the crest is much larger and further developed than the other. Had this happened earlier in the chicks development, the smaller one would have probably died.
These are the same chicks at 24 days of age.
This is the larger of the two chicks at 30 days old. He is a great deal larger and stronger than his nest mate. However, the smaller one is healthy and will survive. The one in the photo can now fly. It will be a few days before the smaller one will be able to do this.