By David Tomlinson
Friday, 05 March 2010
Q) I was brought up in the belief that every autumn, flocks of woodpigeon migrated to eastern England from the Continent, and that these foreign birds were smaller and darker than our native pigeon. Ive since read that this is not true. Is that so? R. THOMAS By email
A) While Britains woodies are highly sedentary, rarely moving significant distances from where they were hatched, northern European populations are very migratory, with large numbers moving to the Mediterranean for the winter. Very few of these birds ever reach Britain, and there have been fewer than a dozen recoveries of foreign-ringed birds in this country.
However, some very large flocks of woodies have been noted moving along the Suffolk coast in the autumn. In 1994, an exceptional total of 88,397 were logged flying south at Languard Point between 10 October and 25 November. It was thought that the majority of these birds were from Scandinavia and were heading for France and Iberia.
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