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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

02 November, 2009

Wood Pigeon (Columba palumbus)

Having looked at the Stock Dove yesterday, here is the Wood Pigeon for comparison. Note the white patches on the neck which, from a distance, looks like a white collar. That, and white in the wing when it flies, is the easiest way to tell them apart.

The Wood Pigeon is a bird that has thrived on modern farming methods and they can be seen in large flocks now as numbers continue to increase (although latest surveys show the population levels may have plateaued in recent years).

In autumn and winter it is now quite common to see flocks of a thousand or more birds in fields which does not endear them to our farmers. What we often do not realise is that large numbers of 'our' birds migrate to Europe at this time of year and people watching visible migration here in Dorset report movements of 30,000 plus birds a day heading south.

To compensate, however, large numbers of these birds come in to the UK from Eastern Europe where it is much colder than here.

Not a favourite bird perhaps but, in our garden, they are known as 'hoovers' as they work their way around under the seed feeders picking up anything, not just nut kernels, that have fallen to the ground and to that extent, at least, they are useful!