ON THE WING
by Jill Dinsmore
TGCI Birds and Butterflies Chairman
Birds sing and bees buzz
Frogs croak loud and clear
Their voices blend to tell the world
Summertime is here.
Stoke Abbott – A sleepy old village in the southwest of England. A 12th century church, when the wind blew during Sunday evening services, the large yews would brush against the stained glass windows. A free flowing spring in the center of the village – under an old oak tree. A horse trough where the Gypsies would water their ponies when they came through on their way to the vale to pick wild daffodils – their caravans smart and oh so shiny – memories. Our cottage was next to the church yard. A very winding path leads down to the fields. Mr. Willie Wakley moved his five cows down through the village twice a day to those fields after milking. Across from us was an orchard, mostly apples for cider – hard cider that is – so when they would fall to the ground, the farmer would have to keep his pigs in because they would get drunk!
My brother and I would go to the bottom of the orchard, into a barn, up into the loft, remove a board in the siding and wait for a pigeon to land. My mother was expert at plucking, trussing, and roasting pigeons. I don’t suppose there were more than a few mouthfuls each, but oh how good it tasted.
Doves and pigeons are members of the columbidae family. The word dove is used to describe the smaller species of pigeons. They are found all over the world except Antarctica, due mainly to their diet which consists of seeds and grains. The mourning dove is one of 300 species of pigeons and doves. Both male and female are similar in size. Females lay 2 unmarked eggs which hatch in 13 – 14 days. Their nests are very frail in appearance, made of twigs and sticks. The Rock Dove or domestic pigeon is found commonly in cities, farmyards, parks, etc. Its nest is a shallow platform of grasses, straw, and debris. They lay one or two unmarked eggs which hatch in 17 to 19 days.
Isn’t this a “Coo”l, “Coo”l subject?!