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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am in need of advice and wisdom of others.

My husband and I discovered two pigeon squabs on our balcony, set up a pigeon cam in the nest area, and have been observing the behavior and development all hours. This started April 3rd and now, on April 14th, we are observing disturbing behavior and are considering intervening.

Situation: The wonderful, affectionate father is the only caregiver observed(mother/mate never seen). The babies are just beginning fledgling stage. His apparent mate has now showed up. The father feeds them when his mates back is turned, and encourages her to nest adjacently to the babies box. But she wants the box nest and attacks the babies, but they cower and take the abuse, not getting the hint. She attacks when they approach dad for water, pecking and flight lessons.

Should we intervene? Right now we jump out and scare the mom when she attacks them. This seems to be working to modify her behavior. The dad still sneaks milk to them. Hopefully his mate will nest else where, and the dad can check in with these babies when possible.

My background: I have raised only one pair of orphaned pigeons (two boys successfully left the nest to be wild).
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Update: The babies are getting very mixed signals. The dad enters the box and feeds them. Immediately after, the female enters the box and violently pecks the babies. The mom knows we will chase her off when she abuses them, but she constantly tests to see if we are paying attention and home to stop her. We don't bother the dad, and he continues to try and care for the babies. I've started checking them for injuries periodically. Is this behavior normal?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
somewhere between two and three weeks. Dad hasn't finished weaning. They still have baby fluff, and flight feathers have not finished coming in. Beginning of fledgling-hood, I would say.
 

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How are you sure who is who, as far as the Mom and Dad?
Is there anyone with them at night?
What do you mean by the father encourages her to nest adjacent to the babies box?
Can you post a picture of the nesting area? And the babies?

When babies are hand raised and then released, they often do not make it in the wild. They have not learned all they need to know from the parents and flock. Also they must be part of a flock to have any chance at survival.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Solution: We removed the nest box which seemed to trigger the females territorial aggression. We substituted with a leaner more open but still sheltered structure for the fledglings. We also removed the surrounding planters that could be easily nested in. This actually seems to be working so far. She still doesn't "like" the babies, but her aggression is much less severe, and over all interest has declined. The dad still remains dedicated to their care and the babies are settled in nicely to the changed environment (which makes it easier to hide and run away from the female). We will continue to monitor the situation and post updates.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Jay3, you are right. Their best chance is to remain in the wild with their parents and that is my goal. I have addressed your questions below.

(1) We suspected this was the dad based on physical traits, and based on what we have read about the father's doing most of the feeding as the babies get older. The gender was later confirmed when observing him mating with the female that now accompanies him. I assume this is their natural dad, but can't confirm that the female is the natural mom. The babies treated her as a stranger initially. The female never liked them, since she appeared. The male and female are the same colorization and pattern type. But the babies are a darker and more solid spread with some white blotches. One baby has unique white facial markings that neither parent has. Is it possible that this is a step mother?

(2) They were probably about 10-14 days old when we started observing. Since then, they have always been alone all the time.

(3) There were planter containers next to the babies' original nest box, which the male seemed to advertise to the female. Doing mating/nesting behavior, he would remain in the planter box and call the female over repeatedly and she would inspect it. He reorganized some debris in the planter. Ultimately she just seemed more fixed on the babies nest box.

(4) pictures are soon to come! I will try to post some tonight.
 
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