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Up here in North Yorkshire the pigeons have suddenly appeared in quite large flocks where previously they’ve been trickling over, usually through the afternoon. Two of us were out this mid week and, although having a good number of shots, only brought down approximately a dozen and a half each. For some reason they were rocketing down wind over the wood then turning in with very few coming into the wood from the lee side. The wood is beaded on two sides by a large osr field ( this years crop) but no signs of pigeon damage yet. Again most of the collected birds were juveniles with, at the most, three acorns in the crop and nowt much else, whereas the adult birds had anything up to ten acorns plus an amount of osr leaves. Now we have plenty of various berries and other fruits growing wild but not a sign of,say, ivy berries. Out again tomorrow afternoon after calling at main farm buildings to knock off a few ferals, first with a .25 fac air rifle on the roofs outside then a half hour with the 12 bore till they disappear for the afternoon. These bird’s crops contain only very clean barley from the cattle feeder machinery. The numbers of pigeons around suggest that our dedication to pest control might well be needed again this year, at least in North and East Yorkshire.

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Thanks for a good account, nice to see someone seeing birds, I have had 3 very poor outings on land that is normally busy with birds here in Norfolk, so bad in fact I decided to give it a rest for a couple of weeks , concentrating instead on cleaning and repairing my gear, managed to rebuild a flapper with a new motor as well ready for when the birds return, well here's hoping anyway,👍 

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Pigeons are doing some odd things at the minute, but I have seen it before.

I have had some early morning success flighting pigeons coming out of some big woods, they were following the same line every morning, then it just stopped, checked it a couple of times this last few days but nothing, yesterday they were back, but in smaller numbers and they were that high you would have needed an anti-aircraft gun to hit them, where I sit to watch this line is on some high ground and you can almost see Worcester Cathedral about 12 miles away, these pigeons were coming from some big woods in flocks of 50 or 60 with the odd flock of 100+ and heading south towards Worcester, I watched them through the bins till I almost lost them, but then they turned around and come all the way back and landed back in the woods they had just left, this happened a few times in the hour and half I sat watching them.

If I could talk to the animals I would ask them what all that was about, like I said I have seen this before but I have never worked out why they do it??? anyone?.

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Indigestion!😉   . . . Strange. But could be true? Safety in numbers as they do this time of year. Feed, roosting, flying as a collective. Do it to work big high value some hard feed through there crop/system. Seeds, berries, acorns, mast etc. Watched some( Abt 150) doing similar near where i was working other week (was milder then). Numbers built steady in quiet small wood/day roost by mid morning. About midday they got restless. All left on mass with purpose/high. Few minuets later about same number same back. funnelling in from high no messing. Repeated twice more during afternoon, last time just before dark. No evidence of them feeding in that time. Often thought air pressure may affect there behaviour to? Like it affects fish and us. Change in wind weather and light may trigger it. Reshuffle/safer tighter, warmer, position for some on return and for the longer nights. Next day hardly saw a bird all day and none came to roost. Maybe them foreign buds? We will never work them out! 

Picked up new bit of ground today. Result! Blank canvas, contract farmed, only me on it and can do what like. Happy days.😉         NB          

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5 hours ago, old'un said:

Pigeons are doing some odd things at the minute, but I have seen it before.

I have had some early morning success flighting pigeons coming out of some big woods, they were following the same line every morning, then it just stopped, checked it a couple of times this last few days but nothing, yesterday they were back, but in smaller numbers and they were that high you would have needed an anti-aircraft gun to hit them, where I sit to watch this line is on some high ground and you can almost see Worcester Cathedral about 12 miles away, these pigeons were coming from some big woods in flocks of 50 or 60 with the odd flock of 100+ and heading south towards Worcester, I watched them through the bins till I almost lost them, but then they turned around and come all the way back and landed back in the woods they had just left, this happened a few times in the hour and half I sat watching them.

If I could talk to the animals I would ask them what all that was about, like I said I have seen this before but I have never worked out why they do it??? anyone?.

That’s one of the questions I want to ask God if I get to meet him! Been seeing pigeons do the exact same round here. They fly for miles and then just turn back to fly to the exact spot they just came from! Perhaps they do it to work up an appetite - who knows!😂 

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As a collective group on this Forum, it is staggering just how little we understand of pigeon behaviour. In our eyes a lot of their activity appears mindless. As for flocks flying off and returning maybe it's just a case of stretching the wings for a bit of exercise. I've come to the conclusion it's not worth venturing out at the moment and wait for a change in conditions, whether that might be crop situation, weather etc. The migration theory seems probable with a rump of non-migratory numbers (young birds?) staying put. Similar to what salmon do. The only real test would be to tag a couple of hundred birds and track them over a few months. It would be one heck of a research project. If this were conducted over some different locations within the UK we might just be able to build a picture and crack what's going on rather best guesses.

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