Country diary: a young wood pigeon learns a life lesson

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Sandy, Bedfordshire: The hapless bird was one step away from being as dead as a dodo. It was time to teach it to be more wary

When the chorus stopped, one voice kept going. On and on, through the dog days of summer and into autumn, it sang with monotonous intent. It was still singing that morning. The breeding season was over, but nobody had told the wood pigeons to stop.

Proof of their enduring fecundity was perched on the back of a garden chair. A messy fledgling wore its adolescence in sprigs of pin feathers sprouting out of its head, shoulders, breast and flanks as if it had come out of the nest via a tumble dryer. This young wood pigeon bore a striking in-your-face family resemblance, not so much to its parents as to a distant cousin that shared its big, hook-tipped beak, a horny upper mandible swollen over its nostrils. Perched three metres away, staring at us without any apparent fear or desire for flight, here was a 21st-century dodo.

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