ENGLAND’S national bird, the robin, is about to be ousted from its place in the Top Tern of our most numerous garden visitors by the wood pigeon, which is moving into urban areas from the countryside in ever bigger numbers.
This change has been picked up by the Garden BirdWatch scheme organised by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), part of the world’s biggest on-line bird census in which tens of thousands of volunteers take part.
This is the first time that the wood pigeons have climbed above the robin in the GardenWatch chart since the scheme was launched in 1995. They have pushed the robin out of its long-time No 4 slot to No 5.;
Woodpigeon has seen a meteoric rise as a garden bird in the UK, the latest survey concludes. In 1995 it was at number 11, being seen in 66% of all gardens that took part in the survey. The latest list of garden birds just published in Bird Table magazine shows that it is now recorded from 85% of those gardens.
But the pigeons are not always as welcome as the robin. For some they bring a taste of the countryside into the garden, whilst for others, it is a bird that has the capacity to hoover up bird food in large quantities and is an unwelcome visitor.
Paul Stancliffe of BirdWatch team says, “Whether you love them or hate them, woodpigeons are an increasingly common sight in our gardens, and it might seem that you have little choice when it comes to them using your garden.
“This isn’t quite true; they come in search of seed and have a real preference for the type of seed mixes that are put out. Anything with a high cereal content will prove to be very attractive to them.”