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The little regarded pigeon.

I have been thining about wood pigeons (and why not). I've often suspected that ubiquitous birds are under appreciated (see also starlings, most corvids), and I fear that the woodie has sufered from being tarred with the brush of the humdrum. But they do hold a special place in my heart.

Living as I do on the edge of a town, close to farmland, woodies are a common sight to me. The farmlansd's the key point there, their success over the last couple of hundred years is tied to the expansion of arable agriculture, as an exclusively vegetetarian bird, increases in farming are verymuch to the wood pigeon's liking (if not the farmers). Indeed, two centuries ago they were considerably more scarce than today, if not exactly rare (the wide variety of old names for them implies a familiarity and a ubiquity: Dow, Stoggy, Culver, Culshat).

The reason for my fondness is the implication of home, I work in the middle of the town, where there are feral pigeons aplenty, but not a woodie to be seen (though I've blogged in the past about the pied wagtails who use my place's roof as their hunting ground). On my run home the point at which I stop seeing feral pigeons and start seeing woodies is the point I feel I'm nearly home. In much the same way as any returning cornishman sees a certain stand of trees next to the motorway which, though they're in Devon, presage the arrival back in Kernow (any Kernowek reading will know precisely what I mean) my fiirst sight of the white half-collar and soft grey plumage tells me home and hearth are just a few minutes away.


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