Country Corner - The beautiful Woodie with its unusual call

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There can be few excuses for not knowing this is a woodpigeon. Big, colourful, distinctive and abundant, the Woodie or Cuchie, is hard to miss, writes George Hogg (Hogg Estate Services).

Furthermore the bird has a loud and characteristic call, often written as “Tak Two Coos – Tommy"!

Unlike the ubiquitous feral pigeon of every townscape, the woodpigeon only nests in trees, most often young trees or large shrubs.

Surprisingly for such a large bird, the nest is a very minimalist affair, often consisting of just enough twigs to stop the two pearly white eggs from falling through.

Strangely for a bird of any sort, the cushie feeds her young on milk!

She does this by partly digesting her usual grain and seed fare and regurgitating it for her young in the form of a milky porridge.

Another interesting aspect of cushie behaviour is the way they have dramatically increased their numbers in towns over recent years.

Several reasons are given for this but I think there is little doubt the modern obsession for garden bird feeding has had the greatest effect.

Many town woodpigeons, noticable by their white neck patch, also appear enormous! Waddling about like pre-Christmas turkeys, the quality and quantity of their bird table gleanings is obvious.

It has to be said many folk do not like large birds like pigeons in their gardens “stealing” the food of smaller birds.

However, maybe they should take a closer look at the Woodie.

What a beautiful creation of colour and form, and for the most part, behaving politely among other birds.

Also woodpigeons are so territorial, you are unlikely to have more than a pair of them, especially in the breeding season.

So let’s hear it for the humble Cushie, as handsome a visitor as you are likely to meet.