Woodpigeon – 2003-07 breeding

Columba palumbus – YSGUTHAN – Breeding resident

Comparison with previous alas:

1984-882003-07
Breeding confirmed174160
Breeding probable170235
Breeding possible7540
No of tetrads occupied419 (of 478)435 (of 490)
Percentage of tetrads87.7%88.8%

It was estimated that there were about 10,000 pairs breeding in Pembrokeshire at the end of the 1984-88 survey. This was based on an average of 25 pairs per occupied tetrad. The 1988-91 National Atlas used an average of about 40 per tetrad for the UK as a whole. The highest concentrations were found in woodland and areas of arable farming, particularly where these habitats were found adjacent to each other.

Woodland and arable farmland makes up only a small proportion of Pembrokeshire which is largely a pastoral county. Considering also that many of the fields are bounded by hedgebanks with few suitable trees for nesting, makes it likely that Woodpigeon density is lower than the UK average. It is notable too that only a 4% increase in distribution was found between the two local surveys, 1984-88 and 2003 – 2007, compared to a 35% increase in Wales as a whole between 1994 and 2007 noted by the BBS. Using an estimated average of 26 pairs per tetrad it is thought that about 11,000 pairs were nesting in the county at the end of 2007.

Graham Rees. Pembrokeshire County Bird Recorder 1981-2007

Records extracted from the Pembrokeshire Bird Reports, which may contain more detail than shown here.

More about the Woodpigeon in Pembrokeshire

Woodpigeon – 1994

Columba palumbus – YSGUTHAN – Breeding resident

1984-88
Breeding confirmed174
Breeding probable170
Breeding possible75
No of tetrads occupied419 (of 478)
Percentage of tetrads87.7%

Mathew (1984) and Lockley et al. (1949) considered the Woodpigeon to be a common resident, most numerous in the wooded north of the county.

Today they breed throughout Pembrokeshire including the islands of Caldey, Skomer and probably Ramsey. Nesting in trees, they are fairly sparsely distributed in open country but more numerous in wooded areas, particularly the conifer plantations. On Skomer, which they colonised in 1970, nests are placed in low brambles and on the ground among bracken, with numbers building up to 30 pairs by 1976 but dropping to an average of 12 pairs in the 1980s. Allowing for the extent of wooded versus open terrain, an average density of 25 pairs per tetrad would suggest a total Pembrokeshire breeding population of about 10,000 pairs.

The extent to which they flock in the winter varies. They usually form groups of just 20 to 50 birds, but sometimes larger flocks are seen, the largest recorded being of 1,700 at Angle Bay on 14 February 1975.

Pembrokeshire birds are probably sedentary, although a few large scale movements have been recorded, such as 4,000 passing over Marloes on 7 December 1986, and they are occasionally seen on the remote islands of Grassholm and the Smalls. However, British Woodpigeons reached Ireland in 1959, a year of exceptional movement (Murton 1965), and one ringed in County Wexford, Ireland, on 13 April 1960 was shot near Carew on 22 September 1960.

Donovan J.W. & Rees G.H, 1994, Birds of Pembrokeshire

MURTON, R.K. 1965. The Woodpigeon. London, Collins. (New Naturalist series.)

More about the Woodpigeon in Pembrokeshire

Woodpigeon – 1980s winter

Columba palumbus – YSGUTHAN – Breeding resident

The BTO winter atlas showed that Woodpigeons were present in the majority of 10km squares during the winters of 1981-82, 1982-82 and 1983-84.

The darker the colour, the higher the relative total count for each 10km square.  The darkest blue represents over 246 birds seen in a day. 

Data collected by volunteers for the BTO. Lack, P. 1986 Atlas of wintering birds in Britain and Ireland. T & A.D. Poyser.

More about the Woodpigeon in Pembrokeshire

Woodpigeon – 1949

Columba palumbus palumbus – Resident and common. 

Dix considered it more numerous in the north-east than elsewhere; this is true to-day, on account of the more wooded nature of this part.  Flocks of winter immigrants are not large, the year 1935 being an exception when thousands were seen in mid-October near Lawrenny (H.A.Gilbert).  Probably breeds regularly Caldey (Bertram Lloyd).

R.M.Lockley, G.C.S.Ingram, H.M.Salmon, 1949, The Birds of Pembrokeshire, The West Wales Field Society

More about the Woodpigeon in Pembrokeshire

Woodpigeon – 1894

RING-DOVE, Columba palumbus – Resident.

To be met with in all the wooded parts of the county, but it cannot be considered abundant anywhere, and we never saw such flocks in the winter time as are commonly observed in England. We had many Ring-doves in our plantations at Stone Hall, where they were constantly harried and devoured by the too numerous Sparrowhawks. Occasionally the birds would do us damage in the kitchen garden, but as we always liked to see them about our trees we never permitted them to be interfered with. In the early months of the year they used to feed greedily in our grounds on the roots of the Pilewort Crowfoot (Ranunculus ficaria), for which they were to be seen searching about in small flocks.

Mr. Dix considered that Ring-doves were more numerous in his north-eastern corner of the county than they were in the south, and remarks that few persons have any idea of the damage they do to turnips and rape during the winter months.

Mathew M.A. 1894, Birds of Pembrokeshire and its Islands

More about the Woodpigeon in Pembrokeshire

Woodpigeon

Columba palumbus – YSGUTHAN – Breeding resident

Woodpigeon – 1994

Columba palumbus – YSGUTHAN – Breeding resident 1984-88 Breeding confirmed 174 Breeding probable 170 Breeding possible 75 No of tetrads occupied 419 (of 478) Percentage of tetrads 87.7% Mathew (1984) and Lockley et al. (1949) considered the Woodpigeon to be a common resident, most numerous in the wooded north of the county. Today they breed throughout Pembrokeshire […]

Woodpigeon – 1980s winter

Columba palumbus – YSGUTHAN – Breeding resident The BTO winter atlas showed that Woodpigeons were present in the majority of 10km squares during the winters of 1981-82, 1982-82 and 1983-84. The darker the colour, the higher the relative total count for each 10km square.  The darkest blue represents over 246 birds seen in a day.  More about […]

Woodpigeon – 1949

Species account from the Birds of Pembrokeshire, 1949, by Lockley, Ingram and Salmon.

Woodpigeon – 1894

RING-DOVE, Columba palumbus – Resident. To be met with in all the wooded parts of the county, but it cannot be considered abundant anywhere, and we never saw such flocks in the winter time as are commonly observed in England. We had many Ring-doves in our plantations at Stone Hall, where they were constantly harried and devoured by the […]