Wood Pigeon (Ring Dove) Bird as Inhabitants
By the middle of March, flocks of wood pigeons return from their winter quarters in the Mediterranean to their nesting grounds throughout most of Europe. Those which inhabit warmer parts of the Continent are either resident or transient migrants. The wood pigeon is found in all types of woodland, overgrown parks or in large gardens with thick ground cover.
Bird Information and Facts
The woodpigeon’s alternative name, ring dove, could be confused with that of the collared dove, which is however quite different in appearance. It used to be believed that pigeons always hatched two eggs, one male and one female, and that these two would live together in love for the rest of their lives, Because of this, boy and girl human twins were sometimes called a pigeon pair.
Length: 40.5 cm. The male and female have like plumage.
Weight: Up to circa 500 grams.
Voice: A cooing note that sounds like ‘cooo-coo, coo-coo, coo’.
Size of Egg: 36.5 — 47.8 X 25.0 — 33.0 mm.
Wood pigeons are plump grey dove with relatively small head; yellow and black eye; pink-tinged chest, white patch either side of neck; small reddish-pink bill and legs. White wing-bars before dark tail and wingtips are revealed in flight.
The beautiful bird is habitant of all kinds of wooded area; feeds in open spaces.
All the year, throughout Britain and Ireland.
Similar Species (Not to be confused with)
The wood pigeon is similar with the smaller member of dove family such as the rock dove, (rare confused to wilder Scottish and Irish coasts, no white marks, bold black wing-bars, grey wing-tips), the stock dove (widespread except in parts of Ireland and the Scottish Highlands, no white marks, shorter tail, black wing-tips), and the feral pigeon, thinner and scruffier).
Wood Pigeon Bird’s Family and Nesting
Early in spring one may hear the unusual ‘clapping’ of the males’ wings, this being part of their courtship antics. The nest is a flimsy structure of twigs, haphazardly laid on top of each other, and is generally located on the branch of a conifer, rarely a deciduous tree, at its junction with the trunk, some 3 to 4 metres above the ground or higher.
The male and female take turns incubating the two eggs for 17 to 18 days, and both feed the young with ‘pigeon’s milk’, regurgitated from the crop. The young birds leave the nest at the age of 20 to 29 days, perching on nearby branches, where they continue to be fed by the parents. They are usually about 35 days old before they are capable of independent flight. The adult birds usually have a second brood in June to August, occasionally a third.
The diet consists chiefly of seeds, green plant parts and, on occasion, even small invertebrates such as earthworms and molluscs. During the day flocks of the wood pigeons may be seen on fields, where they often fall prey to the peregrine falcon. In September and October, they again leave their nesting grounds. The wood pigeon is a popular game bird and its meat is tasty.
Interesting Facts About Wood Pigeon
In Ireland, the pigeon was one of many birds associated with death; it was believed to accompany funeral processions, and therefore a pigeon visiting a farmyard which did not already hold pigeons was considered unlucky.
Plump pigeons and doves have been a plentiful and easy supply of meat since at least the Bronze Age. Man has often encouraged them to roost in or near human habitation, through the provision of dove-cotes, and there are written references to them as long ago as 685 AD in the works of the scholastic Saint Aldhclm of Malmesbury.
Despite its cheerful, puffed-up, almost Dickensian appearance, the wood pigeon is a major countryside pest, doing an enormous amount of damage by feeding on young crops.
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