Stock Dove

Stock Dove

Since this is a reasonably large bird (though small compared to the wood pigeon), not infrequently nesting near dwellings, and likewise having a quite distinct pattern of cooing, it has to lack qualities which magnetize general attention, for this tends to be overlooked.

Even if recognised by farmers and gamekeepers like a separate species, and not simply a ‘small pigeon’, it’s misleadingly referred to as a ‘rock pigeon’ or ‘blue rock’. Certainly it’s a much less plentiful species than the wood pigeon, however in some areas pure flocks of the species, often running into hundreds, may congregate on ploughed fields, fallows and stubbles.

The old adage about ‘birds of the feather’, with its implication those in known bad company could be up to not good, is not very sound natural history. Thus from the mixed bag of ‘pigeons’ shot from the field of stooked wheat, while examination revealed the expected contents in the crops of the wood pigeons, the stock doves contained only charlock-seed.

Haunts :

Often open woodland or timbered parks, but trees not required for breeding.

Appearance :

Smaller and bluer than wood pigeon, without any white wing-bar or neck ‘ring’. Two short black bars on blue of wing, though not extensive, conspicuous when bird reaches rest.

Voice :

Cooing phrase of three notes-‘oo-a-roo, oo-a-roo’-more rapid and slurred than wood pigeon’s.

Food :

Generally for wood pigeon.

Nesting :

In a dark cavity-hollow trees, recesses in masonry, quarry or thatch, as well as in rabbit-burrows in treeless areas. No structure, but few straws and twigs may form lining. 2 eggs, smaller and fewer glossy white than pigeon’s.