Now you might think, as I did before the RSPB web site put me right, that here we have two pigeons. And in a way I suppose we do. At first I assumed that the big fellow with the white collar was a wood pigeon, but I thought I had better check. So, Google and I had a look around to see what we could find out about wood pigeons. Yes, that’s him alright. I have to confess that I don’t have a very high opinion of him at all. I don’t think he is very bright. He builds a nest that looks as if a handful of twigs and pine needles had been blown together by the wind, no sides or any form of cup. Then the female will lay a couple of eggs on it. How they expect them to just sit there and not roll off, I can’t imagine. It always amazes me that any eggs ever hatch into chicks and that the chicks live long enough to ever leave the ‘nest’.
The other bird, I had put down as a feral pigeon, a by-blow of the rock pigeon that has taken over cities around the world – as Nelson knows only too well. But I was wrong. No, it turns out to be much more interesting than that. This is a Stock Dove. It has been quite rare, possibly due to a fashion for treated seed that sprang up in the 1960s, but seems to be recovering well. It nests in holes in tree trunks and it won’t raise two broods in the same hole.
It’s name is derived from the Old English word stocc – a tree trunk, a post or possibly a stake?