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Squab: it’s an odd word to describe a young unfledged pigeon. The Oxford Dictionary gives its origins as: “Mid 17th century (in the sense ‘inexperienced person’): of unknown origin; compare with obsolete quab ‘shapeless thing’ and Swedish dialect skvabba ‘fat woman’.”

191026 pigeon squabs (2)

To me, judging by the behaviour of these two feral pigeons squabs I saw recently harassing their parent for food, squab seems more likely to come from squabble: a noisy quarrel! I almost felt sorry for the adult as it was chased along the pavement by its two young, who then pushed their heads as far down the adult’s open beak as possible, hoping for the ‘milk’ pigeons feed their young.

191026 pigeon squabs (1)