Monday, 4 November 2019

Late breeding

The breeding season is well and truly over for most birds in this part of the world but for at least one species it is not over yet. I was on the phone to my broadband provider at lunchtime today when I noticed a juvenile Woodpigeon on the privet hedge in the front garden and it appeared to be a young juvenile at that. The phone call quickly became the least of my concerns and I grabbed my camera and hastily took a few record shots through the window.

The original Boaty McBoatface.
Juvenile Woodpigeons have a wide almost boat shaped bill which helps them take pigeon milk, a crop secretion they are fed on, from their parents. 

You can see it had already replaced a few feathers on the head and the shoulder of its wings but that could have started immediately on fledging or even before it left the nest. Juveniles of some species start moulting before they leave the nest and this can be accelerated later in the season.
It quivered its wings from time to time which immediately suggested it was trying to solicit food from a parent and then I noticed an adult Woodpigeon a couple of metres away on the bird bath. The adult Woodpigeon then joined the juvenile and started to feed it. There is nothing subtle about an adult Woodpigeon feeding a juvenile and it often looks like a tussle and a trial of strength.

Get in there.

Woodpigeons have quite a long breeding season which can start as early as February and can extend into November and even December, although there can be some variation between years, regions and habitats. While this record of late breeding isn't without precedent for Woodpigeons it is certainly the latest I have recorded locally and for my garden in particular. Woodpigeons are one of the few species that are on the up and have benefitted from both garden feeding and some changes in agricultural practices.