Worcestershire Record No. 22 April 2007 p. 11


P.F. Whitehead

The area surrounding my garden in Little Comberton (SO93) provides a range of feeding sites for Woodpigeons, and their garden nesting efforts are tolerated. It could even be argued that the Woodpigeon is a subtly attractive bird, and its adaptation to the garden environment has become more obvious in recent years.

Competition for nesting sites forces less successful females to select some where success may be relatively marginal. During May 2007 a nest was constructed in a Persian Ironwood Parrotia persica (DC.) C.A. Mey. This tree has an enveloping canopy but is poorly structured in terms of its ability to support a nest, which in this case was constructed dominantly from dead twigs of ivy Hedera helix L. Gales during the first week of May blew the nest out just prior to oviposition.

A new nesting site in a Smoke Tree Cotinus coggygria Scopoli was immediately selected. This tree is also somewhat open-structured. Needing to build the replacement nest quickly, the female ignored the readily available material from the previous nest, and built the second nest to a revised template, initially seeking thorny material which had the potential to create an interlocking base. In doing so it worked at speed, putting itself at some risk by searching under and inside old hawthorn enclosure hedges.

The completed base included fragments of dead hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna Jacq.), gooseberry (Ribes uva-crispa L.) and False Acacia (Robinia pseudoacacia L. var. tortuosa), over and above which a layer of increasingly smaller twigs of Greengage and plum (Prunus domestica L.), Crack Willow (Salix fragilis L.), Smoke Tree, and Holly (Ilex aquifolium L.) were added. Some of these have also now been lost and the female presently (12 May 2007) sits on a decidedly flimsy structure.

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