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Living with Birds 21 Facts on Wood Pigeon Tweetapedia

21 Facts

Wood Pigeon

  1. Feeding flocks are highly gregarious, and may number many thousands of birds.
  2. In many parts of Europe the wood pigeon is the favourite prey of the goshawk.
  3. Though they have been recorded breeding in every month of the year, the peak month for fledging is August.
  4. The majority of young birds are likely to die within their first 12 months, but the record age for a ringed wild bird is over 16.
  5. It takes 17 days for an egg to hatch, and a further 30 to 34 days for the chick to fledge.
  6. Squabs are fed by both parents on a liquid known as crop or pigeon milk.
  7. A female woody never lays more than two eggs in a clutch, but she may lay as many as six repeat clutches in a year if she loses her eggs.
  8. The nest is a simple platform of twigs, usually built in a tree. However, where trees are in short supply these adaptable birds will build inside buildings, or even on the ground.
  9. In winter the pecking rate when feeding increases from around 70 pecks a minute in the morning to over 100 before going to roost.
  10. Though most of the food is taken on the ground, woodies are remarkably agile when feeding in trees.
  11. Oilseed rape is a favourite winter food, and partly explains why these birds are thriving in the modern countryside.
  12. The capacity of the crop is remarkable: it can hold as many as 150 acorns, 1,000 grains of wheat or 200 beans.
  13. It takes a young woody 16 weeks to acquire its distinctive white neck ring.
  14. The woody is almost exclusively vegetarian, in winter stuffing its crop to capacity, then digesting the food overnight.
  15. Many sportsmen still believe that the flocks of small, dark wood pigeons they see in the autumn are migrants from the Continent; they are in fact young birds.
  16. In Britain populations are largely sedentary, seldom moving more than 10 miles from where they hatched, but northern European birds are strongly migratory, moving south towards the Mediterranean every autumn.
  17. It is also is a much-valued sporting bird, but despite year-round shooting its number continue to grow.
  18. This bird is considered to be a major agricultural pest, causing at least £3 million worth of damage to crops annually in the UK.
  19. It is one of the few birds that thrive in intensively farmed countryside, while it is also equally at home in town parks and suburban gardens.
  20. Though wood pigeon is the most commonly used name, this bird is also known as the woody, cushat, cushy-do, quist, ringdow and ring dove.
  21. It’s by far the most numerous large wild bird in Britain, with a population estimated at around 2.5 million pairs.
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