Pigeon murmuration

Yesterday whilst gazing out of the 10th floor hospital room I saw 50-60 pigeons swirling around, like a murmuration, for 20 minutes or so.  Is there a name for this behaviour?  What were they doing?

There was 1 bird which seemed to be doing its own thing and even looked like it was bumping into the others, always a little further out than the main pack then careering back into the centre.

  • I ave seen something similar in our local town centre performed by Feral pigeons rather than Wood Pigeons.
    It's surprising what you see from hospital windows,a few years ago while having chemotherapy after an operation for lung cancer I could watch our local Red Kites over the nearby grassy area. The more Kites I saw the better the treatment seemed to go !!


    Birding is for everyone no matter how good or bad we are at it,enjoy it while you can

  • Hello Pete, glad to hear the Red Kites aided your treatment. We have a pair occasionally over the fields at the end of the road.
    Is it called a 'pigeon murmuration'?
    They were feral pigeons doing the flypast.
  • I have had a Google and pigeons can fly in groups, especially if the are racing birds and have just been let out to fly back home, they will swirl around in a circle to find their bearings, ready to set off in the right direction. Don't know about the stray one though! Maybe it still finding the right way to fly!!

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • Hi Pirate,  about a month ago I was also watching a smaller flock of pigeons doing exactly the same as you describe,  circling around in close formation for over 15 minutes looking as if they didn't know where to head to and were lost  !    I assumed these were racing pigeons as one looked part stock dove.    Here's a quick pic I took of some of them.


    Regards, Hazel 

    "Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again" 

  • So I presumed they were feral pigeons and were flying in a very small area around the top floor of the hospital.

    There are usually pigeons on the roofs of the other buildings and there is a huge metal tube upright which they perch on the side of then dive in and fly back out of, goodness knows what is in there!

    I had a quick google too and they do this to flock together before finding their compass and heading off.

    Ah so the 'feral pigeon' is the 'rock dove', I am learning so much from you all - thank you.

    Interesting, I will keep an eye out for anything similar and take better note. Thank you for the information.