Woodpigeon Migration: Volunteers Wanted

Anyone birding our coast over the last few days, will have witnessed a steady stream of Swallows moving through as they begin their autumn migration south. For some, this whets the appetite for other migration spectacles to come.

In late October and early November huge numbers of Woodpigeons move through south east Wales.  Large numbers are well documented in the East Glamorgan Bird Report, and peak counts are up to 10,000 – 30,000 birds per hour at Peterstone Wentlooge, Gwent.

Wood Pigeons by Pig Sty Avenue, on Flickr
Wood Pigeons by Pig Sty Avenue, on Flickr

It is thought that these birds are of British origin, as there are few records of incoming flocks on the east coast at that time of year. From what is known, many birds move south west over the English Midlands and seem to get ‘bottled up’ somewhere in the area from Forest of Dean through to the area between the rivers Wye and Severn. It is not clear how they reach the south Wales coast from there, but they do, in large numbers and continue to move westwards through Gwent and Glamorgan and probably leave the Welsh coast at some unknown point heading southwards into south west England

This year, Adrian Plant, would like to get together a coordinated observation of direction and numbers. It’s not known if Woodpigeons enter our region via the Severn, Wye or Usk nor how far west they travel in Wales before heading out to sea. He would like to get a small group of observers stationed at a few critical points to try and sort this out. In Glamorgan, it would need someone at Lavernock Point (perhaps also further inland as many birds follow the edge of the line of hills in Gwent and may also do so in Glamorgan). Also somebody looking seaward and inland in the Kenfig area, and of course if sites further west could be managed then all the better. Possible dates would be preferably the weekend of 2/3 November or perhaps 9/10 November. It would be best if all observers were in ‘phone contact with each other to help better coordinate things.

Are you willing to participate for 1 or 2 days?

Please contact Adrian, if you’d like to get involved.

Adrian Plant
e-mail: adrian.plant@museumwales.ac.uk


3 thoughts on “Woodpigeon Migration: Volunteers Wanted

  1. Epic movement of Woodpigeons through SE Wales over the last few days, with huge counts of 90,000 in Cardiff and over 150,000 in Newport.

    I missed these spectaculars, but the sight of flocks of 500+ all moving WSW along the Glamorgan Heritage Coast was well worth connecting with.

  2. Nov 5th, about 08.15am, on Gaer Fawr hillfort (doing the horses) one mile south of Llangwm, near Usk, witnessed masses (no idea how many) of birds fling in south to SWS direction. Following website search they appear to be woodpigeons (medium to large with light breast). Fairly sure they were wood pigeons. Flypast lasted about 4 minutes and was over a wide area. We were stunned!

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