How Do Pigeons Mate?

Pigeons mate through a courtship ritual that can take place at any time of the year. Once they have paired off, pigeons mate for life, which means that neither half of the pair mates with another bird as long as its mate is still alive. In the wild, a pigeon’s life expectancy is about five years, and a female bird may lay eggs as many as six times each year.

According to the Ornithology Department of Cornell University, the pigeon courtship ritual begins when the male selects a potential breeding partner. He performs a courtship dance designed to attract the female bird’s attention. The pigeon makes ruffles or puffs out his neck and wing feathers to make himself appear larger, approaching the female bird with a series of bows and turns. At first, the female bird walks or flies away a short distance, forcing the male to follow. However, if she accepts the male bird’s proposal, she eventually stops. The male then makes an offering of food to the female bird, at which point she allows him to mount her.

Pigeons are a member of the dove family, a type of bird commonly associated with weddings and used to symbolize love. The lifelong mating habits of these birds has helped give them this association.