Woodpigeon facts

Woodpigeon facts
Image source:  By Tristan Ferne from UK - Our woodpigeonUploaded by Snowmanradio, CC BY 2.0, 
https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6973300

1. Weighing around 450g-the equivalent of more than 40 Blue Tits-the Woodpigeon is a bird with considerable presence. 

2. They are considerably larger than both Collared Doves and Feral Pigeons, and have a smarter all-round appearance compared with the latter. Adults sport a white neck-collar (absent in newly fledge young), above which is an attractive patch of turquoise.

3. It mates for life - a pigeon will mourn if mate is lost

4.  A pile of feathers on the lawn is usually Sparrowhawk kill and pluck (Hawks sometimes use a short 'plucking' post).

5.  The masses of pigeons seen in the fields are usually Continental migrants. Enemies of farmers.

6.  Good meat, therefore preyed on by raptors and man. Result VERY NERVOUS. Easily disturbed, often the first birds to fly up in the garden when you appear.

7.  Very fond of grain, so frequent bird-tables – such behaviour has allowed them to survive since farms don't have grain in their yards for free-range poultry and from threshing, any more.

8.  Quisty, Quest, Queece, etc, all mean lament from its mournful call.

9.  Woodpigeons feed their young (known as squabs) on crop-milk, a substance rich in fats and not that disimilar to mammalian milk. Special cells in the crop (a pouch situated in the throat) produce the milk and provide food for the newly-hatched young. Very few birds produce crop-milk, which makes Woodpigeons all the more amazing.

10. Watch one when it is drinking and you’ll discover that a Woodpigeon can suck up water and swallow without having to tilt its head back like most other birds do.

11.  It is possible to count her two glossy white eggs from below the flimsy stick nest.

12. They can breed much of the year, but have usually ended by October.

13. They eat quickly, store it in their crops and digest it in a secure roost.

14. There are at least 3 million breeding pairs.

15. They live about 3 years (oldest = 17+ years).

16. The Stock Dove is the only bird likely to be confused with a Woodpigeon.

17. The song of the Woodpigeon (‘coo-coo-coo-co-co’ -which follows the rhyme 'take two cows taffy') will be familiar to most people.

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