Pigeon Pier Behavior
Date: Summer 2012
I am a volunteer docent at a state park. Visitors ask me why do pigeons hang out at the beach...under the pier specifically. There can't be much to eat there and then there is the salt water issue. Yes, there are fishermen on the pier and sinks for cleaning fish...but surely this would not offer enough sustenance for the large population of pigeons in residence. They seem to enjoy watching the waves break.
Pigeons have adapted superbly to finding food and nesting places close to people. I would think a busy beach offers plenty of food scraps - a reason gulls frequent busy beaches as well. The pier, like bridges and viaducts that also often host large populations of pigeons, provides good protection for roosting.
I wouldn't speculate on whether or not pigeons enjoy watching waves, but who is to say? It seems they've found a perfectly good place to hang out at any rate.
My guess is that they roost under the pier for companionship and for cover from predators. Plus it might be cooler under there. Although I haven’t watched them closely, I have not seen common pigeons eating meat-like substances, so I don’t think they are there for the fishing-scraps. And who/what doesn’t enjoy watching the waves break J
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Update: November 2011