Saturday, 13 April 2013

Coo - pigeons or doves?

At Filnore Woods two sorts of pigeon or dove have been observed:  the collared dove and the wood pigeon.
The collared dove is pinky grey with a black collar round the back of its neck and black eyes.  It coos in threes.  I think of it as saying "a colll-ar, a colll-ar", with the emphassis on the "coll", the middle syllable.
Collared doves also give a cheer when they land "yee-airrr". 
collared dove
The wood pigeon is much bigger and fatter with a white patch on its neck.  Its call is longer, five syllables, which it repeats several times.  I was told as a child that it was saying "my big toe's bleeding, my big toe's bleeding, my big toe's bleeding, ouch".  Well the rhythm is right though you can't actually make out the words.  And there is a little noise at the end as if the bird was going to say it again but changed its mind.
When they are on and around the nest, usually a raft of twigs in a tree, wood pigeons make a growling noise.

wood pigeon
Feral pigeons are definitely town birds.  As they are decended from rock doves who nest on sea cliffs, they use buildings as cliffs, and pavements as beaches to scavenge on.  We don't get them at Filnore Woods.
feral pigeons

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