Viola Stirling’s Nature Diary – 26 Nov 1919

The Woodpigeon. The most numerous large wild bird in Scotland but often one of our most overlooked. We have already talked about Woodpigeons in our previous post so click here for when Viola first encounters them.

In her next diary entry, Viola discovers one of their unique traits. She writes:

I had the chance of examining a wood pigeons crop. It was packed full of beech nuts 50 or so I should think with perhaps 10 huge acorns.

The ‘crop’ is an expanded muscular pouch near the throat which is temporarily used to store food. Not all birds have it but they can be easily spotted if you look closely. Just look for a big lump on the neck after they have been feeding!

Woodpigeons, however, have a very special crop. As Viola writes in her diary, the crop of her Woodpigeon is filled with nuts and acorns. When feeding their young, Woodpigeons are able to produce a unique crop-milk. This substance is rich in fat and is made by special cells in the crop.

Very few birds are able to produce crop-milk so the next the time you a see a Woodpigeon don’t discount it so easily. They are actually able to do something extremely unique!

 

Transcript

Page 10

Nov 26th I had the chance of examining a wood pigeons crop.

It was packed full of beech nuts 50 or so I should think

with perhaps 10 huge acorns. However it got

Page 11

them down I can not imagine. The principal food

of wood pigeons seems to be acorns & beech nuts.

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