Ask McFartnuggets: “Why Do Pigeons Live in Cities?”

Dear McFartnuggets: 
Why on Earth are there always pigeons in cities? They can live wherever they want! They have wings they can fly! Why would they choose to live in dirty cities where there are tons of dangers around like cars and hungry homeless people? There’s not even any natural food for them. Shouldn’t they be living in small towns where they can eat seeds and berries or something? -- Margarine from Chicago, Illinois

Dear Margarine:
I’m no pigeon expert, but I’d have to say part of the appeal of cities for them is buildings. Pigeons love flying onto rooftops and perching on ledges. You can’t do that on a farm. As a pigeon you’re more likely to run into hawks and other aerial predators outside of major cities. Birds of prey don’t really populate major metropolises. And believe it or not, homeless people don’t really eat pigeons too often. Maybe they should, it’s a pretty abundant food source, but you’re more likely to see homeless people taking care of pigeons like the Pigeon Lady from “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.” Also, pigeons may not know there are better places out there. Yes they can fly over rivers to better places, but they have no idea what’s over there. In their bird brains it’s probably not worth the risk.

Pigeons aren't called rats with wings for nothing.

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