Pigeon Politics

A few times a week, I put bread out on the back lawn for the birds. At one time, I mainly gave them bowls of bird seed instead, but with the cost of living crisis biting hard, paying up to £25 a month for a sack of (quality) seed has had to be postponed for now.

They like the bread well enough, and it is usually a mixture of sliced granary bread and white bread crusts. As you might expect with birds, they do have a pecking order. 🙂

First to arrive will be the large Wood Pigeons. They spend their time sitting on nearby rooftops or fences, in the hope that it will be ‘bread day’. Once the bread is flung onto the grass and I am back inside, down they come.

The blackbirds await their opportunity. Lurking under the shrubs on the left of the garden, then suddenly darting out onto the grass to grab a chunk of bread while the pigeons are occupied. They sensibly take it back to their hidey-holes, where they can eat it undisturbed.

Last to arrive are the smaller, or more timid birds. Sparrows, Wrens, Robins, Jays, and Ring-Necked Doves. They eat together peacefully, finishing up the crumbs left by any of the others.

But the big Wood Pigeons do not cooperate with each other. They apply the rule of survival of the fittest. Large battles ensue, denoted by loud flapping of wings, and the more aggressive birds actually jumping on their lesser rivals. Despite the fact that there is enough to go round, they do not desist until just the strongest bird is left, to eat his or her fill. The others have to wait, perching on the fence as the top dog (top pigeon in this case) gobbles up the easiest morsels to swallow. Only when the ‘Big man’ (or big female) had finished, do they return.

Then those lesser pigeons start the same fracas, and so on, until the weakest and most intimidated pigeon is left to share with the small birds once all the bigger birds have flown away.

I don’t think I would like to be a Wood Pigeon.

83 thoughts on “Pigeon Politics

  1. We put out seeds, peanuts, suet blocks and birds, and bread – husband built a feeding station for them. He always says the birds invite all their relatives here. We have everything from chaffinches, tits, blackbirds, sparrows and dunnocks (plus the ubiquitous magpies, doves and pigeons)- and unfortunately the occasional sparrow hawk. When all goes quiet out there! Last week there was an almighty thump on the kitchen window, followed by a lot of screeching. I opened the back door, the blackbird flew inside and I flapped and shouted rude words at the sparrow hawk that had pinned the blackbird down. It flew off, the blackbird composed itself on the windowsill and, when I opened the window, finally flew off, unscathed – except for a few ruffled feathers. I felt inordinately pleased with myself for at least an hour.
    Just thought I’d share that!!🤗🤗🤗

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We get noisy Asian Koels and they are loud and lots of tiny sparrows but they all seem to coexist quite peacefully the little sparrows just pop in and out quite quickly for its the squirrels who are the greedy ones although when all fruit is on the trees it attracts them and the other birds get more of the seeds that are very cheap here or I dry my own sometimes x

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    1. Carol, I just had to look up what Asian Koels looked like… they have red eyes!! And make a variety of calls, including the distinctively loud, repetitive, high- pitched ‘ku-oo’ mating calls from dawn, and can sometimes be heard till night. But even so… are a protected species under the Wildlife Act. And then I read,”NParks is working with NEA and premise managements to prune trees, and remove crows’ nests and food sources to discourage Asian Koels from roosting in residential areas.” I learned quite a lot about these birds. And I also realised why , when I’m researching, I end up miles away from the initial subject I was looking for. 😊.

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  3. As we live close to a wetland wildlife sanctuary we get ducks flying over the house. We have taken to feeding them, record so far 18 in one go, usually only 6-8 morning and evening, gives us a nice feeling, they have some feed called lucky duck but prefer wholemeal bread. Unfortunaley duck hunting season will soon be upon us, hopefully they will realise the safety of our patio.

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  4. Ah, too bad those wood pigeons can’t get along and play nice! I’ve always fed the hummingbirds in our backyard but held off on other bird feeders till this year when the weather was so cold. I put up both suet, and seed feeders and all the little birds seem to share well. Problem is the squirrels love both and deplete the supply within a couple of days. I’m not sure I’ll keep it up as there’s lots for them to eat in my garden, and it does get expensive!

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    1. I was originally paying around £18 for a big sack that lasted a month. Then it went up to £22.50, and soon after £24.50. In the meantime, the war in Ukraine pushed up prices of everything else. Our heating oil doubled in price in three months, so the bird seed (a luxury) had to go.
      Best wishes, Pete.


  5. I’ve never understood why after evolving after millions of years, pigeons haven’t worked out they could hold down their food with a foot, rather than tossing it over their heads hoping some will remain in their beaks. Mind you cabbies haven’t discovered after centuries they can actually go sarf of The River.

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  6. You are right. Life is tough for pigeons, or at least it would appear so. We were remarking yesterday that we had not seen any for some time and this morning, they they were. They are even more stroppy than the Starlings. All the others cower in the hedge. Bird food is expensive and the quality is not great these days unless you pay double and I can’t afford that.

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  7. Bread doesn’t provide any nutrients, just fills them up. You’d be better doing what Liz suggests, buy a bag of peanuts (£5) and it lasts ages. The sunflower seeds go very fast, so I fill my feeder every other day.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I know bread isn’t a great option, but I have that anyway and buying extra bird food had to be cut from our budget. Julie only works part time, and we have had so much to pay out lately with heating problems and car issues. Now tomorrow, someone is coming to look at the roof, meaning more money spent.
      Best wishes, Pete. x


        1. I am using a general builder who lives at the end of the close opposite. So far, he has only agreed to ‘have a look’, as he also has a wood burner chimney going out onto his roof. x


  8. I have found peanuts in a feeder, hung on a low tree, really please the blue tits and last for ages but seed goes rapidly when the sparrows come out of their bush. Our pigeons are better behaved these days and just waddle around hoovering up the seeds dropped by the other birds.

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  9. I thought there was a joke coming with this. There is an old bird feeding political joke just like this and I can’t find it, so Pete I will leave you with some cheap chirping . .
    What do you give a sick bird? Tweetment!
    What is a polygon? A dead parrot!
    What kind of bird works at a construction site? The crane!
    Why does a flamingo lift up only one leg? Well if it lifted both legs it would fall over!
    What do you call a funny chicken? A comedi-hen
    Why do seagulls like to live by the sea? Because if they lived by the bay they would be bagels!
    Ok Pete I’m flying off

    Liked by 2 people

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