Did my wood pigeon migrate and come back?

A year ago I found an injured wood pigeon that had obviously been attacked, but was still able to fly. I threw it some seeds and that was the beginning of our friendship. 

It came usually twice a day every day for his seeds, eventually coming up to the porch window and asking. His wound healed up nicely. I ended up being able to hand feed him and sit beside him on the garden bench as he ate. He would hang about with us in the garden during the summer. He seemed to enjoy our company. I saw him (still don't know what sex) partnering up with another woody and eventually they had a chick.

Then one day, he disappeared. Coincidentally, I found some feathers on the grass and put 2 & 2 together. Days/weeks went by and no sign.

6 months on, I'm in the garden yesterday and turn round to see a woody looking up at me. At first I thought it was injured or ill, as it seemed so chill. I walked towards it, and it turned around and waddled over to the porch (where the bird seed is kept). I thought...it couldn't be, could it? I took the bird seed out, and he then waddled over to the garden bench where he had previously always eaten his seeds. It's him! 

I couldn't believe it. And his partner is with him too, although it's not as tame and much more wary of me.

Where was he? as far as I know they don't migrate. How can it be that he came twice a day every day for 6 months, then gone for 6 months, then back again just like that?

Appreciate any answers!

  • Hi Scotty, what a lovely story, I am afraid I have no answers for you but am sure someone in particular will, if he sees this post. Hope you have babies again this year, well not you! Enjoy the friendship.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • Hi Scotty I bet you were shocked to see him back.
    From what I can gather our Woodpigeons don't migrate though they will move about in the country.
    You do see large flocks of them moving south and from what I can see on the internet they are thought to be from Scandanavia going through the country heading over to France and Spain.

    My Flickr photos

  • A lovely story
    I suppose some birds don't migrate but do change habits outside breeding season, eg flocking together in winter. I wonder if that might be where your bird went and now, it's come back for the summer. No idea if woodpigeons do that - it's just a shot in the dark.


    Nige   Flickr

  • Thanks for the replies. I'm so happy he's back. The whole family is happy. Feels like a miracle, we were convinced a cat/fox got him.

    Nigel, I suspect you might be right. I've been trying to look up information and although the majority say that Woodies live within roughly 10-20 miles of the place their were born and don't leave, it did seem that he disappeared as winter was coming and after his chick had fledged and was fully independent.

    Alan, always possible he moved further south during the winter (I'm in Scotland so might have wanted to escape the cold).

    Just intrigued to know where he went.