Wood Pigeon

Wood Pigeon

To a countryman one of the most striking options that come with bird-life in the parks based in london is the sight of the wood pigeon like a fearless mixer with mankind, for in the country this really is one of the most wary and unapproachable of birds.

Since the country wood pigeon often associates with the smaller stock dove, it appears likely that the presence of the well-fed ‘London pigeon’ transmits a feeling of security for this more unlikely candidate for citizenship.

Those who have seen large winter flocks of wood pigeons must wonder (if he accepts the generally held belief that they’re British-bred birds, unaugmented by foreign immigrants) where they’ve all originated from, and why they’re such an obviously successful species.

Their nests neither conceal nor protect their eggs; their clutch is of two eggs only, which, from their whiteness, are extremely conspicuous they seem doomed found by the egg-thieving crow or jay. Pure white eggs are normal of birds which habitually nest in dark holes-owls, woodpeckers and kingfishers-and therefore need no nest-building skills. It’s perhaps significant that lots of members of the pigeon family, including our stock dove and rock dove, continue to be in this category.

This means that that the wood pigeon has deviated from the methods for some distant ancestral hole-nester and it has become only partially adapted in the few nest-construction, and totally unadapted regarding egg-colour. Yet, regardless of these apparent drawbacks, wood pigeon population keeps in a remarkably higher level.

Three main factors bring about this success: the wood pigeon includes a long expectation of life, probably from ten to 15 years; although it raises a little family, the breeding-season is protracted, and three broods are usual between April and December; and most helpful of, the virtual lack of controlling predators, from large hawks to pine-martens.

Haunts :

Open country, preferably both grassland and arable, with trees for cover and nesting; for latter purpose anything from dense coniferous woods to wash and hedges.

Appearance :

Larger size and prominent white bar across wing outside of other bluish-grey wild pigeons. White neck-patch (hence ‘ring dove’) on adults only. Breast faintly iridescent shades of mauve, pink and brown. Tail mainly black, white-barred beneath.

Voice :

Notes usually uttered in number of five-‘coo-coo-coo-coo-roo’-almost always ending, following a succession of these phrases, having a single note which seems like the first one of some other phrase.

Food :

Almost entirely vegetable; aside from grain and clover, some staple items are acorns, beechmast, haws, ivy-berries, brassica crops, and buttercup corns.

Nesting :

In trees and bushes at varying heights-may be only three feet in juniper or thorn scrub, but full of crowns of mature conifers. Nest might be mere platform of latticed twigs, or denser aggregation from repeated nestings on old base. 2 eggs, pure glossy white, almost even-ended.