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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello,

About a week ago I noticed a pigeon nest on a traffic light not too far from my house in Montreal (Quebec, Canada). Aside from the odd choice of location, they seemed to be doing well, and I could see one parent coming and going. I'm not sure if it was always the same parent or if they alternated, since I never saw both at once.

This afternoon, I saw the nest again, and I was glad that it hadn't been removed. However, I didn't see any adult(s) this time. No big deal, I figured they were just away looking for food.

But tonight, I went by again and there were still no adults... it was already midnight, so I got very concerned. Pigeons don't fly at night, do they?
I'm hoping that the parents are just somewhere nearby for whatever reason (perhaps space concerns, as there isn't much room on the traffic light), but I'm beginning to think that they either abandoned the nest or died...

What should I do?! I don't want to move the chicks if there's any chance of the parents coming back, but I'm very alarmed by their absence in the middle of the night. At least the night is warm (around 23 Celsius, 73 Fahrenheit), but I'm not sure how long the chicks have until they starve...

This is a video of what they looked like about 6 days ago (to give an idea of their age / survival chances) - they're a little bit bigger and fluffier now :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8aaJVzR6qSg

(1080p available for more detail, though sadly they're still a bit hard to see)

I could really use some advice!!
 

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I wouldn't worry about them not being there, they should be close by. They don't sit with babies at that age, but they do still feed them.

If they are not feeding them they need some human intervention. They are at the age where they get easier to hand feed.

I would be concerned about them learning to fledge on a traffic light, or someone removing them. Is there a lot of traffic there? If they are in any danger or not being fed, remove them.

Here is a link on caring for baby pigeons, just in case: http://www.pigeonrescue.co.uk/caringforababypigeon.htm
 

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Sky is right in that they stop sitting on babies by now. They are probably around and come to feed them. If they fledge from there, they could possibly be run over by a car, but if you take them to finish raising them, then just releasing later gets difficult, as they didn't have the parent birds to teach them survival skills, so you may need to keep them, or find a home for them. Crazy place to raise babies.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I wouldn't worry about them not being there, they should be close by. They don't sit with babies at that age, but they do still feed them.

If they are not feeding them they need some human intervention. They are at the age where they get easier to hand feed.

I would be concerned about them learning to fledge on a traffic light, or someone removing them. Is there a lot of traffic there? If they are in any danger or not being fed, remove them.

Here is a link on caring for baby pigeons, just in case: http://www.pigeonrescue.co.uk/caringforababypigeon.htm
Sky is right in that they stop sitting on babies by now. They are probably around and come to feed them. If they fledge from there, they could possibly be run over by a car, but if you take them to finish raising them, then just releasing later gets difficult, as they didn't have the parent birds to teach them survival skills, so you may need to keep them, or find a home for them. Crazy place to raise babies.

Thank you both for the advice! I was reassured to learn that it's normal for the parents to stop sitting with them, so I decided to just keep an eye on them and only intervene if something seemed wrong. Every time I went by, they looked active and happy (preening, shuffling around, etc.), and they were always growing new feathers, so I figured they were still being fed when I wasn't around. I left out some seed on a few occasions to try to help the parents, and I think I saw them in the area a couple of times.

The babies are now a lot bigger and almost look like adults - here's a video I took of them yesterday :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MZRMTTbk1U

I'll try to take them away or contact some wildlife organization (though I doubt any of them will want to help feral pigeons...) when their departure from the nest is imminent. Based on their appearance in the video, when do you think that might happen? Do pigeons always leave the nest at a specific age, or does it vary?

I'm not sure how I would go about teaching them to survive, but I guess they would have better chances with me than near such a busy road. If I take them right as they're about to fledge, maybe they could still learn to become independent?

I would LOVE to keep them, but sadly I still live with my dad who would be very opposed, plus I already have my dove... I'll try asking around to try and find them a home in case they can't be released, but I don't have high hopes.
 

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The parents take them around and show them how to survive. They will also be part of a flock. If they are taken, that will not happen. Their chances of surviving are not so great then.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The parents take them around and show them how to survive. The will also be part of a flock. If they are taken, that will not happen. Their chances of surviving are not so great then.
What if I took them away only until they learned how to fly, and then put them back with the original flock (there is one that roosts close to the streetlight they're on)? Would the parents recognize them at all? Could they learn from pigeons other than their parents?
 

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If you take them, you will break the bond with the parents. They will then be on their own. You put them back with the original flock and they will be strangers to the flock. Not part of it.
People have raised babies and then released them as you want to, but their chances of survival go way down. That's why when hand raised, they are now often kept as pets. Because you have taken them away from the parents at an important time for them. I know it's scary to watch them and think about them fledging from that light. Like, what were the parents thinking? They may not make it unfortunately, but they may. If you take them, same thing. But knowing that their survival chances go down if taken, then I would have to wait and hope that they make it. Pigeons will nest in the weirdest places sometimes, but that is nature, and what they do. It isn't always up to us to decide for them.
Can you post a photo of the traffic light from a distance, to show us what the area is actually like? Just a photo that takes in that area. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
If you take them, you will break the bond with the parents. They will then be on their own. You put them back with the original flock and they will be strangers to the flock. Not part of it.
People have raised babies and then released them as you want to, but their chances of survival go way down. That's why when hand raised, they are now often kept as pets. Because you have taken them away from the parents at an important time for them. I know it's scary to watch them and think about them fledging from that light. Like, what were the parents thinking? They may not make it unfortunately, but they may. If you take them, same thing. But knowing that their survival chances go down if taken, then I would have to wait and hope that they make it. Pigeons will nest in the weirdest places sometimes, but that is nature, and what they do. It isn't always up to us to decide for them.
Can you post a photo of the traffic light from a distance, to show us what the area is actually like? Just a photo that takes in that area. Thanks.
So you think they would have better chances of surviving if I left them there?
The problem is that it's a pretty busy corner with lots of foot traffic (it's right in front of a subway station), and there are buses that go by every 10-15 minutes less than a meter away from the streetlight...
Can pigeon fledglings walk well? I noticed they were standing in their nest. If they can walk, maybe they could get to a safe place, but there might still be a high likelihood of them falling off the curb.

This is a picture of the steeetlight and surrounding area : http://imgur.com/0WKg75L
 

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I can't tell you what to do. Seeing the picture is scary. They could fledge and survive, but they could also get killed on the road. Dumb place for a nest. If you take them, their chances of survival go down if released later. I really can't tell you which is a better option. People have done slow releases into a flock, but that requires visiting and feeding the flock with your birds in a cage to watch them and get used to each other, and for them to learn the cues of the other birds. It takes a little time and effort on your part. I can't tell you what to do. Can only let you know what often happens. Hard choice, isn't it.
 

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One of the weirdest locations ever seen. Still, leaving them with parents would be better. But just my opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Good news! The kids can fly already :)

I had decided to keep an eye on them, and move them only if it seemed urgent to do so. I had also decided that if I did move them, it would only be a few meters away, still in view of the traffic light (just to get them away from the road).

In the end, I didn't need to do anything, as they naturally ended up on the building where I had been planning to potentially put them. They were perched like this when I found them :

http://imgur.com/eH3FLfy

There were adult pigeons in the nest who weren't the parents - I'm not sure if they chased the babies out, or just moved in after they were gone. Either way, it worked out well (and the dad eventually came back to chase those other pigeons off, anyway).

I hung around the area for another 30-45 minutes, walking to and fro, and at some point I noticed the babies were no longer on the building. They were now on the ground, hiding behind a recycling bin, so I gave them a bit of food.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_oP9f4KVuY

I kept walking around a bit, waiting to see what they would do, and after eating they were back on the building again! So apparently they can fly reasonably well, enough to get on and off the ledge (which is about 2-3 meters above ground).
The mom was still hanging around as well.

I'll go by today again to see how they're doing. Hopefully they'll stick to safe places like the ledge & sidewalk, and not wander off into traffic!
 

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That's a great news.
Thanks for the update and thanks for your kind heart for them. Big smile to you. :)
Keep us posted.
 

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Thanks for the update. Looks like they're fine.
 

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Glad to hear the kids primary method of transportation is now flying. In a few days they should get really good at it and are safer for it.
Please do keep us updated.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Another update!

I've been keeping an eye on them and trying to monitor their development. They've been flying around a bit, even going back to the nest not too long after the last update.
After that they started hanging out on the subway staton's sign, and occasionally flying back to the top of the traffic light (above the nest).

I took a few pictures : http://imgur.com/a/aAdzG

One day, when I was giving a little bit of food to the pigeons in the area, one of the kids flew down and ate a bit (but he quickly flew back up!)

I haven't seen them around at all for the last few days, though. I suppose they must be all grown up and exploring with the rest of the flock -- there are about 30 or 40 pigeons that roost at that station every night and most of them disperse during the day. I'll keep looking for them to make sure they integrated the flock safely (I'm already dropping by once in a while to feed the adults anyway). They're probably fine but I saw a falcon a few blocks away so I'm slightly worried (not to mention cars, etc.)...

If I see them again I'll be sure to post more pics! :)
 

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Their parents would be part of the flock, so they would too. Glad they are doing well.
 

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Cute pic, they are still there some time hiding the traffic signals :)
 
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