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Pigeons on OSR with the cold arriving


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2 hours ago, JDog said:

Yes and I went round to see my new neighbour Balotelli. He hasn’t seen any either.

Must be going out early as instructed and putting them all off. 👍

It's been very quiet for a week or so. 

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During the pre virus days when most of us had never heard of the word lockdown  and if we were lucky enough to take a sack of Pigeons to the game dealers we always got a good price at this time of the year as only a small amount were taken in compared to other times of the year , this was mainly due to less shooting activity , game shooting taking priority , days getting shorter , wild fowling and a variety of food like berries that don't draw big numbers and would be a job to shoot over , we did, like other pigeon shooters get the odd good bag on Autumn drillings and the odd beet field , but overall we are now entering a very quite period , mind you , those dedicated decoyers will do the extra mile to find some sport and don't give up at the first hurdle , one of the old posters was P C who could always be relied on making a bag when others were finding it hard work , by the way , is he still about ?

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I think this is an interesting topic- and gives a running account of when pigeons will begin to show interest in OSR regionally. It will be interesting to see if the colder northern regions see the first pigeons on the rape this year.

Hitman 

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Seen about 30 pigeons on rape this afternoon but every other rape field - deserted! Tried to flight a few at first light this morning after seeing several hundred feeding on the oaks but it was hopeless. Fired a shot and they all moved on mass. Impressive sight but utterly useless. Turns out they are roosting and feeding in the same wood. Is there any way to get under them in this situation?

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34 minutes ago, Pigeon addict said:

Seen about 30 pigeons on rape this afternoon but every other rape field - deserted! Tried to flight a few at first light this morning after seeing several hundred feeding on the oaks but it was hopeless. Fired a shot and they all moved on mass. Impressive sight but utterly useless. Turns out they are roosting and feeding in the same wood. Is there any way to get under them in this situation?

Try very windy conditions so the pigeons are not sure where the sound of the shot comes from , calm conditions will course a lot of disturbance if you are inside or near a wood , you will know what will be your best wind direction so hang on for a few days until the wind will be at your advantage , this might not work , but you have got everything to gain and not a lot to lose , well worth a try.

GOOD LUCK 

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49 minutes ago, marsh man said:

Try very windy conditions so the pigeons are not sure where the sound of the shot comes from , calm conditions will course a lot of disturbance if you are inside or near a wood , you will know what will be your best wind direction so hang on for a few days until the wind will be at your advantage , this might not work , but you have got everything to gain and not a lot to lose , well worth a try.

GOOD LUCK 

Thanks I’ll give it a go. Had a look at the forecast and going to hold on until next week. Numbers may build which will help too. Only difficulty is that they seem to roost and feed in the same wood which makes it difficult to come up with a strategy. Found a flightline, probably a false work but it’s steadyish not prolific. Hopefully a strong wind like you said will encourage ones and twos. Anyway could fail but thanks again.

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Very light on OSR round here this year.  It's usually yellow for miles around in May but on my travels recently I've only seen just a few small blocks of it here and there drilled this autumn.

Yesterday whilst working outdoors for several hours I was overflown by several flocks of pigeons, estimated 50ish to 100ish at a time, in their usual "long distance" mode, a good 200ft up and going like the clappers in a straight line on north-easterly bearing.  Heading for Lincolnshire!  Don't disappoint me @JDog and @Jacko3275 ;)

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Went to look at a 60 acre rape field today was there 2 hours must have seen 200 ( too high to flightline) pigeons fly over  not one interested in hitting the rape but may be good if the weather gets worse or they just find it 

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10 hours ago, Jacko3275 said:

Went to look at a 60 acre rape field today was there 2 hours must have seen 200 ( too high to flightline) pigeons fly over  not one interested in hitting the rape but may be good if the weather gets worse or they just find it 

I agree with Motty’s previous post that I don’t think that the temperature has much to do with whether the pigeons hit the rape. Once all the stubbles, beech mast, acorns, berries etc have all been gleaned, then the pigeons will start on the rape. Rape has less nutritional value than other food so IMO they feed on rape as a last resort. As a consequence, some areas may lack the aforementioned foodstuffs so pigeons may hit the rape earlier than other areas.

I think that we therefore associate cold weather with pigeons feeding on rape, but it’s not a prerequisite. It is fortunate for the pigeon (and us pigeon shooters, but possibly not the farmers) that rape is available during the winter months to sustain it. Many no doubt will remember the days before rape was grown seeing emaciated pigeons struggling to survive on brussel tops during snowy weather.

Hopefully (for us) the current trend to grow less rape due to flea beetle will be reversed and a more successful remedy such as the current trials with buckwheat(also known as beechwheat) will continue to provide us with our winter sport (er crop protection).

OB 

Edited by Old Boggy
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1 hour ago, Old Boggy said:

I agree with Motty’s previous post that I don’t think that the temperature has much to do with whether the pigeons hit the rape. Once all the stubbles, beech mast, acorns, berries etc have all been gleaned, then the pigeons will start on the rape. Rape has less nutritional value than other food so IMO they feed on rape as a last resort. As a consequence, some areas may lack the aforementioned foodstuffs so pigeons may hit the rape earlier than other areas.

I think that we therefore associate cold weather with pigeons feeding on rape, but it’s not a prerequisite. It is fortunate for the pigeon (and us pigeon shooters, but possibly not the farmers) that rape is available during the winter months to sustain it. Many no doubt will remember the days before rape was grown seeing emaciated pigeons struggling to survive on brussel tops during snowy weather.

Hopefully (for us) the current trend to grow less rape due to flea beetle will be reversed and a more successful remedy such as the current trials with buckwheat(also known as beechwheat) will continue to provide us with our winter sport (er crop protection).

OB 

Yes I agree with all you have mentioned, and will add that the reason rape is associated with cold weather is that frosts kill off the berrys and therefore limit food supply. This in turn makes low nutritional foods such as rape more palatable.  This morning when walking for my Sunday paper I saw pigeons on some yellow berries I don't recall seeing them on these previously, and don't know what they are called. Come in JD and shed some light on this please.

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19 minutes ago, dead eye alan said:

Yes I agree with all you have mentioned, and will add that the reason rape is associated with cold weather is that frosts kill off the berrys and therefore limit food supply. This in turn makes low nutritional foods such as rape more palatable.  This morning when walking for my Sunday paper I saw pigeons on some yellow berries I don't recall seeing them on these previously, and don't know what they are called. Come in JD and shed some light on this please.

Probably firethorn or something similar- not that popular locally and I never seen pigeons eating there, but I am sure they will.

My best bags on OSR have always been in late spring when the drilling is over and the pigeons concentrate on the bare patches that were grazed off during the winter- great sport.

Hitman 

 

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44 minutes ago, dead eye alan said:

Yes I agree with all you have mentioned, and will add that the reason rape is associated with cold weather is that frosts kill off the berrys and therefore limit food supply. This in turn makes low nutritional foods such as rape more palatable.  This morning when walking for my Sunday paper I saw pigeons on some yellow berries I don't recall seeing them on these previously, and don't know what they are called. Come in JD and shed some light on this please.

I appreciate your faith but it may be misplaced.

In my limited view pigeons only really start feeding on rape when all other and more nutritious food sources have been exhausted. In times of bumper crops of acorns and beech mast or hawthorn berries this may not be until December or even later. Add to that mix late drillings of wheat and Ivy berries and the pattern of 'pigeons will start on rape after a few hard frosts' will be less clear.

This part of the world is well known for long hawthorn hedges, particularly on what was previously known as 'the marsh' and those berries should keep the pigeons happy for a while yet.

As for the yellow berries, I have never known pigeons feed on Pyracantha berries at any time of year. There are a lot of ornamental Malus trees holding yellow fruits at the moment and pigeons go mad for them. Look up Malus 'Golden Hornet' to see if they fit the bill.

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I have a yellow berried rowan the pigeons prefer over the red and pinks ones in the garden. They sit in them for hours plucking berries off. The red one is the last to be eaten. Currently it has no leaves and an abundance of berries dragging the branches down but not a single one has been eaten. The yellow one is almost bare. 

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1 hour ago, JDog said:

I appreciate your faith but it may be misplaced.

In my limited view pigeons only really start feeding on rape when all other and more nutritious food sources have been exhausted. In times of bumper crops of acorns and beech mast or hawthorn berries this may not be until December or even later. Add to that mix late drillings of wheat and Ivy berries and the pattern of 'pigeons will start on rape after a few hard frosts' will be less clear.

This part of the world is well known for long hawthorn hedges, particularly on what was previously known as 'the marsh' and those berries should keep the pigeons happy for a while yet.

As for the yellow berries, I have never known pigeons feed on Pyracantha berries at any time of year. There are a lot of ornamental Malus trees holding yellow fruits at the moment and pigeons go mad for them. Look up Malus 'Golden Hornet' to see if they fit the bill.

Thanks JD the Golden hornet bereys look very similar to the ones I saw, but myine are low bushes about 3 feet tall and very tight the pigeons can stand on top and pluck the nemurus berrys.

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19 minutes ago, dead eye alan said:

Thanks JD the Golden hornet bereys look very similar to the ones I saw, but myine are low bushes about 3 feet tall and very tight the pigeons can stand on top and pluck the nemurus berrys.

Can you take a photo?

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Shot a pigeon on the weekend whilst I was duck flighting and its crop was stuffed full with 24 acorns - sure one of you out there can top this! Came across a couple of maize fields today brimming with kernels on the ground and not a pigeon in sight(checked the two fields twice today)! Could not believe it; just goes to show the lure of the acorns this time of year. 

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19 hours ago, Pigeon addict said:

Shot a pigeon on the weekend whilst I was duck flighting and its crop was stuffed full with 24 acorns - sure one of you out there can top this! Came across a couple of maize fields today brimming with kernels on the ground and not a pigeon in sight(checked the two fields twice today)! Could not believe it; just goes to show the lure of the acorns this time of year. 

Of the few pigeons that I shot yesterday, (just 7)all had acorns (up to five in each crop), a couple had ivy berries and one had hawthorn berries. No rape whatsoever despite there being a large acreage of rape about here. It is a good year for acorns in this area so I suspect that they will stay in the woods and hedgerows until all the acorns, beech mast and berries  have been eaten, then perhaps venture out onto the rape.

OB

Edited by Old Boggy
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There's about 25 acres of stubble turnips drilled into a couple of meadows in the middle of the patch that I keeper.  It was drilled quite a bit later than is typical, I think.  Early on, it was getting a bit of interest from the pigeons but I haven't seen any on it for months now.  Maybe it's attractive when the leaves are young and fresh but not after it's sat a while?  Maybe they just prefer something else.

The shepherd will probably put his flock on it within the next month but if any survives during the leaner part of the winter I'll be able to tell if the pigeons are using it, I'm up there almost every day.

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