The Clerk in the Country

Friday 4th June 2021


Having learned to recognise my pigeon neighbours, I’ve also begun to distinguish their calls. The Woodpigeon’s is the most complex: “Coo coooo coo coocoo cu”* which, as far as I can understand, translates as “Where are you, my dearest darling? – I’m right here, my sweetest love”.

In comparison the Stock Doves are monosyllabic, with a call described by my big bird book as “a coughing or grunting note”: “Woo woo woo woo woo”* but the meaning is probably much the same.

The Collared Doves’ distinctive “Cookooo cuck”* might almost be taken for a Cuckoo, until you have the good fortune to hear the crisp clear call of a real Cuckoo, now sadly much less common than in my childhood.  The Doves sometimes omit their final “cuck” in an effort to fill the gap.

* Those unfamiliar with written Dove may be interested to know that the RSPB website has useful recordings of these and many other bird songs.

No blog for the next couple of weeks because of holiday.