Monday, 18 May 2009


A strange title for today's offering, but the name refers to a very well known family of birds. I was struck by the beauty of one of our most commonly seen birds the other day as one of them strutted around the garden. I refer to the pigeon family in general and the Wood Pigeon (Columba palumbus) in particular.

Wood Pigeons are the largest of the British pigeons but frequently overlooked, probably because of their familiarity. Considering the fact that they have been shot, poisoned and trapped for many years, it is a wonder there are any left at all. It is even more surprising that they are not more afraid of humans.
A closer look at the colouring of the bird reveals it's true beauty. The pale grey with a pinkish wash, coupled with the iridescence of the feathers around the neck, surely makes this one of our more colourful birds.

Pigeons are an ancient family of birds and are found in very many forms and colours around the world. Arguably the most famous 'pigeon' of all was the Dodo. Famously extinct, it is not widely known that Dodos were, in fact a type of pigeon - albeit huge and flightless standing about 3ft tall. Too trusting for their own good, they fell victim to the persecution of man and became extinct around the mid 17th century.
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