|Spot the nest|
This year, however, I have been kicked into touch by BTO Press Officer Paul Stancliffe, who located the first Thetford nest of 2013 before I’ve even started looking. On 19th January, amidst the snow covered wastelands of the town centre, Paul spotted a Collared Dove sitting on a nest lodged at the top of a telegraph pole. The bird was still sitting the next day, and on the 22nd he was able to see into the uncovered nest from his upstairs bedroom window, glimpsing the top of at least one egg. It is now the 24th and the bird is still incubating in the sub-zero temperatures.
|First nest record of the year for Thetford|
Collared Doves are extremely opportunistic breeders. Data from the Nest Record Scheme show that nesting has been recorded in all months of the year (sample size c. 4,200 records). The peak month in terms of clutch initiation (the laying of the first egg) is April (Figure 1), and the main season is typically from March to July. This is earlier than Woodpigeon which again can be found nesting in most months, but exhibits a peak in laying between July and September.
The current cold snap doesn’t really seem to present much of an opportunity, however, and I fear that the outcome of this attempt is unlikely to be positive. We shall continue monitoring their progress to find out.