Where Do Pigeons Find Shelter in the Winter?

Winter brings with it a chill that impacts all creatures, including pigeons. Interestingly, while most birds migrate to warmer climates in winter, pigeons prefer to tough it out at home.

This blog aims to unravel the mystery behind where these resilient feathered friends find shelter during cold months. Keep reading and take a fascinating flight into the world of pigeons in winter!

Key Takeaways

  • Pigeons find shelter in winter by seeking warm spots like ledges of buildings and hidden corners in tunnels to protect themselves from cold winds and snow.
  • They group together during winter to save body heatsleep on flat surfaces, and find food more easily with many eyes spotting it faster.
  • Pigeons survive winter by adjusting their body temperature, increasing food intake, utilizing feathers for warmth, and seeking shelter in urban areas where there are human-provided food sources.

Pigeon Behavior During Winter

Pigeons seek shelter, group together, and have a lowered activity rate during the winter months.

Seeking shelter

Pigeons are smart birds. In winter, they look for warm spots to stay safe and cozy. They love the ledges of tall buildings and hidden corners in tunnels. These places protect them from cold winds and snow.

Pigeons also sleep on flat surfaces like barn beams or building tops. This way, they stay high above the ground away from threats while keeping warm at night.

Grouping together

Pigeons stay in groups during the winter. This is because it helps them save body heat. They all sleep together on flat places. Being in a group also makes it easier to find food. This is because many eyes can spot food faster than just two.

The groups of pigeons also move less in winter. Less movement means they use less energy, which keeps them warm for longer.

Lowered activity rate

In winter, pigeons slow down. They do less to save their energy. Cold weather makes them tuck in their heads and feet. This helps keep their bodies warm. Pigeons are smart birds! They know how to stop heat loss when the weather gets very cold.

They do this by making less blood flow to their body parts exposed to the cold air. All these tricks help pigeons survive and thrive even in winter!

Survival Mechanisms of Pigeons in Winter

Pigeons survive winter by adjusting their body temperature and metabolic rate, increasing food intake, and utilizing feathers for warmth.

Adjusting body temperature and metabolic rate

Pigeons have a neat trick to stay warm in winter. They adjust their body temperature and make it higher or lower as needed. Also, they change the speed of their metabolic rate! This means how fast their body uses food for energy.

When it is very cold, they can make this happen faster to produce more heat. One way pigeons do this is by tucking in their heads and feet when the weather gets chilly. Another way is by using behaviors like fluffing up feathers or staying close with other pigeons.

These actions help keep them cozy even in freezing temperatures!

Increased food intake

During the winter, pigeons increase their food intake to ensure survival. With limited natural food resources available, pigeons rely on humans for sustenance. They search for places where they can find a consistent supply of food, such as urban areas and towns with plenty of waste or leftover human-provided food sources.

Pigeons have adapted to thrive in this environment, taking advantage of the increased availability of edible items during colder months. Despite the cold weather, pigeons are able to maintain their energy levels by consuming more food, which helps them regulate body temperature and stay active during winter days.

Utilizing feathers for warmth

Pigeons have a clever way of staying warm in the winter by utilizing their feathers. They fluff up their feathers to create an insulating layer of air that helps retain heat close to their bodies.

This extra fluffiness provides them with much-needed warmth during cold weather. Pigeons also have specially adapted down feathers that help trap more body heat. These feathers are denser and provide better insulation against the cold temperatures.

By using their feathers in this way, pigeons can regulate their body temperature and stay comfortable even when it’s freezing outside.

Pigeon’s Preferred Environment in Winter

Pigeons prefer the warmth of towns and cities during winter, where they can find human-provided food sources. Find out more about their preferred environment in winter by reading the full blog post.

The warmth of towns and cities

In winter, pigeons prefer to seek shelter in the warmth of towns and cities. These urban areas provide a constant source of heat due to the urban heat island effect created by buildings and human activity.

Pigeons find comfort on the ledges of buildings, tunnels, and bridges which offer protection from harsh weather conditions. The presence of humans also means access to food sources such as food waste or bird feeders, making it easier for pigeons to survive during colder months.

So when temperatures drop, you’re likely to find these birds flocking to urban environments where they can stay warm and well-fed.

Human-provided food sources

Pigeons rely on humans for food during the winter months. In urban areas, pigeons find food from places like food vendors and restaurants. They scavenge for leftovers and crumbs that people leave behind.

Pigeons in rural areas rely on natural food sources like berries, insects, and seeds. These resources help them survive when there are fewer human-provided options available. Overall, pigeons have adapted to take advantage of the food sources that humans provide, making them more resilient during the winter season.

The Impact of Snow on Pigeon Behavior

Snow has a significant impact on pigeon behavior, affecting their food sources and ability to stay dry, making it crucial for them to find shelter in the winter. Curious to know how pigeons adapt? Read more!

Where pigeons find food in the snow

How pigeons stay dry during snow or rain

Pigeons have special adaptations that help them stay dry during snow or rain. These adaptations include:

  1. Waterproof feathers: Pigeons have feathers that are coated with a protective oil called preen oil. This oil makes their feathers waterproof, preventing water from seeping through and reaching their skin.
  2. Fluffing up: When it rains or snows, pigeons fluff up their feathers to create an insulating layer of air. This helps to keep them warm and dry by trapping the heat close to their bodies and preventing moisture from reaching their skin.
  3. Finding sheltered spots: Pigeons are skilled at finding sheltered spots during inclement weather. They seek out locations such as ledges, crevices, or under bridges where they can find protection from the rain or snow.
  4. Utilizing rooftops: Pigeons often take advantage of rooftops during bad weather. They will perch on roofs, using the overhangs and angles of the buildings to shield themselves from precipitation.
  5. Seeking cover under trees or foliage: Pigeons may also seek cover under trees or foliage when it is raining or snowing. The dense vegetation provides natural protection against wet weather.


In conclusion, pigeons find shelter in various places during the winter to stay warm. They seek out ledges of buildingstunnels, and other cozy spots. By staying together in groups and relying on humans for food, pigeons are able to survive the cold winter months.


1. Where do pigeons find shelter in the cold winter?

Pigeons, like Scandinavian wood pigeons, seek shelter in warm places such as hedgerows, agricultural buildings or public parks to fight the cold.

2. How do pigeons keep warm during the winter?

Pigeons maintain their body warmth by constricting blood flow and preventing heat loss using their natural instincts. They also prefer sleeping on flat surfaces which helps in trapping heat.

3. Can pigeons still find food during wintertime?

Yes, they can! Pigeons are smart birds that adapt their diet to what’s available around them thriving even in harsh winter conditions thanks largely to crop milk full of proteins, fats and minerals.

4. Is there a way to control pigeon pests in human areas during wintertime?

Yes! Services from companies like Edinburgh Pest Control Co and Allstate Pest Control provide solutions ranging from bird netting or spikes, electronic deterrent systems up to bird removal service.

5. Are there any health risks related with having many pigeons around us?

Pigeon droppings can cause garden damage and water damage leading to diseases like gastroenteritis for humans so it is important to maintain pest control all year round.

6. Does snowy weather affect how baby pigeons grow up?

Like squabs (baby pigeons), other young birds may need extra care considering factors like regulating body temperature against nocturnal hypothermia but usually female protectors ensure this protection effectively.

Julian Goldie - Owner of ChiperBirds.com

Julian Goldie

I'm a bird enthusiast and creator of Chipper Birds, a blog sharing my experience caring for birds. I've traveled the world bird watching and I'm committed to helping others with bird care. Contact me at [email protected] for assistance.