Pigeon rugby and other bird news

In my first blog, I talked about the various birds that come to my garden. I also mentioned that the feral pigeons keep me amused with some of their antics as well as those of the squirrel.

This morning I was looking out of my bedroom window while I was drying my hair and had a grandstand view of the bird table and the pigeons. They have been eating some Haith’s suet balls in the feeder and a small lump that was left had fallen out, with several pigeons in hot pursuit of this lump of suet.

Some of them were tossing the said suet into the air and throwing it forward, which reminded me very much of a game of rugby. The next pigeon grabbed it, pecked it and tossed it in the air and so on. One funny moment came when one pigeon flipped the piece of suet in the air and it landed on his back and the others were unsure what to do. Birds can certainly be opportunists and when the piece of suet had gone left field, a female blackbird took a chance dived in and went off with what was remaining.

During the warmer days over the Easter weekend, the feral pigeons have certainly been making use of their bird bath. Some have just been sitting on the rim of the seed tray and dipping in and having a drink, while others have stopped to have a bath. One or two have been quite enthusiastic with flipping their wings into the water and giving themselves a shower and then getting out and sitting on the grass to dry off. The queue of pigeons, as they do tend to copy one another, was pretty orderly although one or two were getting a little bit impatient. They are also at the moment conducting their courtship rituals and one I call white wing, as he is predominantly white apart from a black tail feather and one or two blotches of black on his back and chest, jumped in the bird bath had a drink and then decided to do his courtship rituals with another passing pigeon. It certainly looked very comical!

I also better give you an update on the wood pigeons. I’ve not seen them going back into the holly tree or collecting nesting materials but there are two pairs coming into the garden. Over the last week or so they have been going into a wild cherry tree, the picture is attached, and pecking at the emerging buds. As the tree is now in blossom, they have stopped doing so. The sparrows are still collecting nesting material including blades of grass, leaves and small fluffy feathers. I can only assume that the starlings now have youngsters, as they are not just coming in the morning and the evening to the feeders, but are coming through the day as well and making frequent return visits. They are even barging in when the pigeons are there. They roost not very far away and so it will be interesting to see how many youngsters arrive this year.

As I was just finishing this blog, another piece of suet ball has appeared on the patio with a melee of pigeons charging around after it again. It’s down among my patio containers so I think they’re probably playing crazy golf this time!

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Written by Margaret Emerson

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