Stock Doves in a Box

30 Days Wild, day 29: A month ago I discovered that two eggs had been laid in the tawny owl box on the pine tree at the bottom of my garden. At first I suspected woodpigeons, but then discovered that they don't use boxes or holes to nest in, so these had to be stock doves. The stock dove is easily overlooked, as it's a similar bird to the rock dove (or feral pigeon), with an iridescent green band at the back of the neck.

 Stock dove (centre) with woodpigeons

The tawny owl box

Adult bird returns (29/05/2016)

They always lay two eggs, which are incubated for 21-23 days. On June 16 I checked the box camera to find that, at last, a chick had hatched. The parent birds had shown great dedication over the incubation, but then left the chick on its own for many hours. I was considering intervening, and the possibility of hand-rearing the chick, when thankfully both parent birds returned and started feeding it.

First view of the chick (16/06/2016)

Feeding the chick (20/06/2016)

Pigeons produce 'milk' for their chicks which has similar properties to that produced by mammals. The second egg failed to hatch, but the single chick is doing well with both parents providing for it. The chick is already well feathered although it will not be ready to fledge for another two weeks.

 A full box (25/06/2016)

 One fat squab with adult today (29/06/2016)


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