MEET THE MODEL – WOOD PIGEON
- Length: 40cm
- Wingspan: 80cm
- Weight: 450-550g
- UK breeding: 5,000,000 pairs
The wood pigeon is both he largest and most common pigeon , mostly Rey in colour with a white , green and purple neck and distinctive whit stripes on its wings. Although shy in the countryside it can be tame and approachable in towns and cities. Its cooing call is a familiar sound in woodlands as is the loud clatter of its wings when it flies away. 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.
The nest is a simple untidy platform of twigs, usually built in a tree, where trees are in short supply these adaptable birds will build inside buildings, or even on the ground. A female never normally 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. It takes 17 days for an egg to hatch, and a further 30 to 34 days for the chick to fledge.
Wood pigeons are the least fussy eaters of all common garden birds. They will pretty much eat anything put out on the table. Their sheer size allows them to push away smaller birds with ease. Wood pigeons feed their young on a milk-like liquid secreted from their crops. This enables them to use foodstuffs other than invertebrates, to produce the protein needed by developing chicks. Although they can be greedy feeders, taking large amounts of food put out for other garden visitors, they are an interesting species and well worth watching. They also drink a lot of water because of their relatively dry diets, however, They only drink from open places, like bird baths.