“On 30th July 2012 morning at around 7.30am, a very interesting and beautiful pigeon super battle flight manoeuver attacked a human – at Commonwealth Avenue West.
“Standing beside the bus stop, I looked up into the sky, at the pine and mango trees. From the corner of my left eye I noticed a large grey pigeon with wings spread out (like an eagle getting ready to attack a prey), flying, charging towards my direction, about 3m away and 3m above the ground. Surprised! Very Shocked, yes.
“It flew very fast, dropped 2 poops about 2m in front as it came nearer and flew pass, just overhead.
“Thanks to BESGroup website information on territorial battles and birds attacking preys, within that few seconds I sensed danger. The pigeon was attacking me. I dodged to the left and was spared being hit or clawed. If it did planned to claw or hit me.
“It flew away and perched on a lamp post on my left about 1.5m away as though nothing has happened.
“Sensing danger, I left the site immediately. Did not know what to do, very frightened, first time attacked by a bird, even though it was a pigeon. I could have been hit or attacked by its claws, or turned into a mass attack soon, that would be bad.
“I have not heard of pigeons attacking humans!
“Help! I don’t want to be attacked again!”
4th August 2012
Note: Samantha subsequently sent in the image above as the type of pigeon involved. It is a Rock Pigeon (Columba livia).
Lee Chiu San
I am speculating that the bird was a pet released by an irresponsible owner after it became too fierce to handle. You may laugh at the notion that a pigeon can be fierce. Many small songbirds, including pigeons and doves, raised in isolation since young, have no experience of threats, and can be foolhardy in standing up for their rights. Those who enter their pets in bird-singing competitions make use of this foible by posing supposed threats to their birds, then always letting them win. The bird then builds up massive self-confidence. The same technique is used in training attack dogs, which, during drills, are always allowed to overcome the persons acting as criminals.
A common rock pigeon is hardly a likely candidate for training in a singing competition. But people do keep them as pets. And I have come across some foolishly tame and aggressive examples which have been encouraged to get away with such behaviour because their owners found it cute.
I’ve seen people feeding pigeons and this practice really must stop. They are extremely filthy birds that become tame very fast. Near eating places beside Simei MRT, some of them are so tame that they don’t even want to move aside as you walk/cycle through a group of them. I could just reach out and touch one and it wouldn’t have cared. I’ve seen a few sick birds among them too, and the problem is that those sick ones always stay around the tables where people eat, at the open air coffee shops. VERY unhygienic, with the potential to spread disease. The entire area is littered with feathers and bird droppings.
This is the first time I’ve heard of a pigeon attacking a human, but it does show that:
1) Any bird has the potential to be aggressive (and not just crows), under the right circumstances; and
2) The pigeon population needs to be constantly kept in check.
As an aside, I was just thinking: I wonder if the increased number of people here in Singapore has had an impact on pigeons? I mean, over a relatively short span of time, the human population here has increased dramatically – have the birds sensed this and now as a result feel more “stressed”? Just a hypothesis!
I’m sure it was a frightening experience. However, it should be kept in mind that pigeons are not like hawks which kill animals with their claws. Others can correct me because I haven’t held a pigeon, but I believe their claws are nothing like a cat’s claws, and thus while it might have intended to frighten you, the pigeon would not pose real danger.
I too have never heard of a pigeon attacking a person (or a cat or dog or anything larger than themselves). Could it have been a youngster who was not shy and not able to control it’s flight well? Or perhaps there was something behind you which the pigeon was aimed at? I agree with Am that many pigeons associate people with food so it seems quite possible it was coming to beg. Or perhaps it had been trained to be aggressive or tamed and fearless.
All in all, I guess that was a very unique experience! I trust you’ll never experience it again.
Christopher Kevin Clark
2023 I got a job at the airport , washing cars and was attacked by rock pigeons a flock yes it can happen three days in a row. I found your post trying to see if it’s been documented. Was terrifying experience I quit my job