Niall Horan Flies Right Into His Fear of Pigeons

Former One Direction member Niall Horan has flown on from the boy band life that made him famous and landed in a successful solo career. But that’s not the only thing the 26-year-old singer is flying into. Recently on James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke, Horan faced his fear of pigeons head-on when Corden insisted that the Irishman stand alone in a park with pigeons on his head. While Corden’s antics like this are no surprise to viewers, Horan was less than pleased with the situation at hand.

Niall Horan smiling in front of a repeating background
Niall Horan | David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images

Niall Horan has had a prolific career

Horan’s singing career began in 2010 when he was just 16 years old and a contestant on the British talent contest The X Factor. After failing to qualify on his own, Horan was placed in a group with four other teenage boys who also failed to qualify: Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Zayn Malik, and Liam Payne. Together, the group formed One Direction and went on to finish in third place in the competition.

One Direction took the world by storm in its short life. The five young men put out five albums together, went on four world tours, and co-authored four books. They were the first group in history to have their first four albums debut at number one on the Billboard 200. Their success reached around the world and fans were heartbroken when the group announced in 2016 that they would be going on an indefinite hiatus.

Following One Direction’s hiatus, Horan released his first solo album Flicker in 2017. Hits like “Slow Hands” and “This Town” helped Horan form his own image apart from his boy band history. Recently, Horan released his second album Heartbreak Weather, which debuted at number one in the U.K. and Ireland and number four on the Billboard 200.

Niall Horan is no fan of pigeons

While promoting Heartbreak Weather, Horan went on a segment of Carpool Karaoke with comedian James Corden. Corden asked Horan if the singer had any phobias and Horan simply replied, “I hate birds.” More digging led to the admission that it’s not all birds he hates, but pigeons in particular. Stating that while he enjoys a nice walk in the park, it can be ruined by the presence of pigeons. “I think they’re horrible,” he said.

In response, Corden set up an opportunity for Horan to face his fear with a little exposure therapy. The pair stood in a park as an attendant first handed Horan a pigeon to hold on to, then placed a second bird on his shoulder and another on his head. Corden, ever the comedian, then decided to leave Horan on his own with his new avian friends. It was then that Horan’s panic increased and the encounter ended after one of the birds relieved himself on the singer’s back.

This is no new fear of Niall Horan’s

Horan has discussed his fear of pigeons before, as far back as during his One Direction days. He told The Sun in 2012 that he tended to get extra nervous before a show if pigeons were flying around at the venue. Apparently, a pigeon once flew into his bathroom as a child and that encounter left him scarred for life.

Another fear that he briefly mentioned in Carpool Karaoke was that he’s claustrophobic. He told The Irish Times in 2017 that he sometimes freaks out on planes because of the small, compact space. “I have to breathe myself out of it,” he told them. While claustrophobia may be more common than the fear of pigeons, we’re glad that Horan only had to face one of his fears while on camera! Hopefully, Corden will take it easy on him next time.