Take the 2-minute tour ×
Biology Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for biology researchers, academics, and students. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I used to have too many pigeons in house. If by chance one of the baby falls out of the nest we used to put it back using gloves.

Usually, if we touch them with bare hands, the other pigeons usually kill the baby. I want to know why they do that?

share|improve this question
This is covered at Skeptics.SE: skeptics.stackexchange.com/q/3132/43 –  JYelton Aug 11 '14 at 18:05

1 Answer 1

up vote 5 down vote accepted

This is a story I have been told as well when I was a kid. Usually this is related to the foreign smell that the humans leave on the chick. However, this seems to be an urban legend, as birds have not a great sense of smell.

Snopes says about this:

However, Mother birds will not reject their babies because they smell human scent on them, nor will they refuse to set on eggs that have been handled by a person. Many birds have a limited sense of smell and cannot detect human scent, or if they can detect it, do not react to it.

What can happen is that the birds returning to their nest which find the nest disturbed compared to the situation when they left might cause them to temporarily or permanently abondon their nest.

You can find this and more urban legends about birds here and here.

share|improve this answer
Thanks a lot!! But can you explain instead of giving links? –  Devashish Das Jul 29 '14 at 16:34

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.