Feral pigeons are regarded as pests in many towns. Lots of effort and expense goes into discouraging them from perching on ledges by placing spikes, and scaring them away with birds of prey. But in my garden feral pigeons have been rare. In 2013-14 I recorded none at all, and the year before that I only recorded them on 3 occasions. Now I’m seeing them all the time.
So far this year I’ve recorded data from 13 observation days. I’ve seen feral pigeons on 9 of those 13 days. And it’s not just one or two. In the four preceding years, the most I’ve seen on any single day was two. This year I’ve had up to six on a single day. I’ve seen feral pigeons on as many observation days in 2015 (and we’re still only in May) as in the previous 4.5 years put together.
I’m not sure why there’s been this change. I’m still getting regular visits from their country cousins, the woodpigeons. The type of food I’m putting out is the same. And there hasn’t been any significant changes in land use nearby.
While not everyone’s a fan of feral pigeons, I quite admire the beautiful colouring on their necks. And they look a bit brighter than woodpigeons (who always strike me as dopey). As far as I can see they’re not causing any problems in the garden, so they’re welcome visitors (as are the crows, jackdaws and magpies that other garden birdwatchers are often less keen on).