Wood Pigeon (Columba palumbus)

The world is always changing and we don't always notice it. Only through the accumulation of data over a period of time can change be measured which is why projects like the BTO Garden Bird census can be so useful. Quite often, when we look at the data we realise that we have seen the changes happen but just did not notice at the time.

So it is with the Wood Pigeon. There have always been a lot of Wood Pigeons about in my time birding but I had really not noticed a change in the garden.

However, the data from bird surveys shows that gradually, over the last thirty years this species has been steadily rising up the charts. In 1979 it was barely scoring at around 18th place, by 1989 it had risen to 13th and was at number 10 in 1999. Last year it had reached number 9.

Why the increase? The rise of the Wood Pigeon is partly due to the success it is having as a breeding species in this country and there are now staggering numbers of this bird across the country. The other reason is the decline and fall down the ratings of others such as the Song Thrush and the Dunnock to mention just a couple.

The Wood Pigeon is a strong bird, versatile in the habitat it can stand and it is certainly not a fussy eater! Is it destined to go above 9? Yes, I think it probably is.

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