Friday, 22 February 2008

When is a Pigeon a Rock Dove?

With the arrival of spring the daffodils are blooming, but this is really for Steve Coates with the six nations coming up!
The Rock Dove was originally kept to provide food, and now is the wild ancestor of domestic pigeons the world over. Feral pigeons come in all shades, some bluer, others blacker - some are pale grey with darker chequered markings, others an unusual shade of dull brick-red or cinnamon-brown, and still others can be or less white while others look exactly like wild rock doves. In urban areas where the numbers are allowed to increase they can become pests (and antagonise poor old Ken).

The wild rock dove is now found only along the north and west coasts of Scotland, on offshore islands, and on Northern Ireland coasts. Feral, or domestic, pigeons breed almost everywhere apart from upland areas, with the highest density in the most populated urban and suburban areas.
Some of the Feral Pigeons seem to revert to there genetic ancestors and can be found along the cliffs between St Margaret's and Kingsdown, using the little caves to nest in. It isn't clear if they were ever native here, or if they were when they ceased to be "proper" Rock Doves. Rock Doves in their pure state probably were still breeding around the rocky coasts of Scotland, Ireland and Wales, with a few on the North-east coast of England up until 1900. After this they have declined and the only place I've seen birds in the UK that were "tickable" as wild birds was on Fair Isle.

We should congratulate the people working on the gas main through the village. The High Street is now open, with traffic lights at the Sea Street end. Now its just 400 metres from my front door to my back door by car. They seem to have been very efficient clearing up, so it's good not to be moaning, well done.


Anonymous said...

The village looks very tired and depressing in this photo... they still haven't applied any paint :(

Kingsdowner said...

Good to see the Daffodils are blooming Tony - I'll tell you if I see any roses budding, but it could be a while yet :-}

Anonymous said...

This isn't going to win 'Village of the Year 2008', that's for sure.

Kingsdowner said...

Good to see the rose-buds starting to emerge at last!