Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Acrobatic Woodpigeons and helicopter seeds

The Woodpigeon stately presence might suggest that they are cumbersome birds, but Woodpigeons feeding on trees show that they are surprisingly acrobatic. Compared to their relatives the Feral Pigeons, Woodpigeons have shorter legs and longer tails, which give them more manoeuvrability when moving on branches. Today I saw a group of ten or so feeding on a cotoneaster tree. One of them swallowed one berry rapidly after another while keeping its head low by the bunch of berries, reminiscent of how pigeons drink, keeping their bills under water and swallowing the water directly. 
 Further ahead, three or four were eating seeds in a Sycamore - the ones that fly like helicopters - and having finished off the ones easy to reach, they were balancing and stretching at the end of branches to get at the remaining ones. The individual on the top shot had spent some time trying to reach a bunch of seeds beneath it. It then flew to the branch underneath and stretched its neck in the hope of being able to get them from there.

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