This Week In Zoology: What an Ugly Baby

There is an evolutionary reason why most people find the infant version of most animals adorable. The large eyes and large heads evoke sympathy in humans by exploiting a deep instinct to protect they young of the group, and to recognize them by their body’s proportions.

Given this instinct, it is obvious why the “babies” of pretty much any animal are so much cuter than the adult version. This is a general rule, but goddamn do pigeons violate it.

It had never occurred to me that I had no idea what pigeon chicks look like, despite having grown up in a city that is full of them. I have never liked pigeons, always considering them to be the true “rats with wings” rather than bats, which I find charming and dead useful. So when I came across an article on IFLScience entitled “Why Do You Never See Baby Pigeons?” I clicked on it, realizing that I had never asked myself that question before.

I mean, I never really thought about it because it was always clear by their behavior that they roost in very high places. Pigeons are not ducks, which lay their eggs on the ground, and thus produce young that waddle along behind them. The baby pigeons are in the nest, aren’t they?

Reading the article confirmed what I expected.

“Only if you can see into a nest would you be likely to see baby pigeons,” Debra Kriensky, a conservation biologist with NYC Audubon Society, explained to IFLScience. “By the time they leave the nest, they are already quite large and resemble adult birds more than they do chicks.”

It’s also worth considering that pigeon chicks fledge (leave the nest) within just 25 to 32 days. So, unless you catch them in this brief period at the top of a building, then you’re unlikely to see them.

I bring this article up because the real shocker was not the explanation as to why you never see baby pigeons, but rather it was the picture of the baby rock dove, of which the city pigeon is a subspecies. Truly these birds could not be further from ducks, which produce some of the most adorable babies ever to  come out of the Aves class.

Brace yourself. Baby rock doves and pigeons reside below the fold.

This is the baby rock dove posted in the article

Holy crap. That has got to be the ugliest baby I have ever seen.

Even though adult rock doves are virtually indistinguishable from the city dwelling pigeons, I still wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt. Are baby city pigeons any cuter? Well Google Images, what do you have in store for me.



Oh dear Thor. That’s even worse.

It’s official. Rock doves, pigeons, whatever you want to call yourselves, you’re babies are ugly as holy hell.


  1. quotetheunquote says

    Oh, yeah? You think that’s bad? Try baby barn owls .

    Not in my worst nightmares, my most feverish of fever-dream hallucinations, have I come across anything like these; H. Bosch himself couldn’t make up this stuff…

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