Woodies on the road
My route to work each morning takes me along country lanes. I have often flushed as many as 40 woodpigeons from the road in just a three-mile stretch. They are usually in groups of two or three birds, seldom more. Curiously, I rarely see pigeons on the road when I drive home in the evening. What is attracting them to the tarmac?
The birds you see are almost certainly picking up tiny grains of grit that will aid them when digesting food in their crop. unlike mammals, a bird first stores food in its crop, a sort of soft pouch below the throat. Pigeons will fill their crop during the day and digest its contents at night, which is why you will see pigeons coming in to roost in the evening with packed crops.
The tiny particles of grit help the digestion process. Pigeon fanciers provide grit for their birds, favouring oyster shell as it also gives the bird calcium. grain is the most important part of a pigeon’s diet, but it is a challenge for the bird’s digestive system to cope with such a hard and seemingly indigestible food. It seems that pigeons prefer to pick up grit in the mornings, when their crops are empty, which explains why you see them on the road at this time. DT
woodpigeons will pick up tiny grains of grit to help them digest the food in their crop