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Wood pigeon and stock dove are the two familiar birds of open farmland and parks, frequently in large numbers. Wood pigeons nest virtually anywhere, even on the ground where trees are not available. The nest is rudimentary being just a few crossed sticks and it is a miracle that most of the eggs do not fall out.

Stock doves are often overlooked amongst their bigger cousins. They are small, greyer and lack the white neck collar. They nest in holes in trees or nest boxes.

Collared dove is now a common bird breeding in parks and gardens, but was unknown in the UK until the fifties when it made a sudden expansion from Asia.

Turtle dove, once a common part of an English summer with its soft cooing call, is now seriously threatened mainly due to illegal shooting of migrating birds in the Mediterranean, and particularly France.

© Tony Gunton