This section is from the book "The Balance Of Nature And Modern Conditions Of Cultivation", by George Abbey. Also available from Amazon: The Balance Of Nature And Modern Conditions Of Cultivation.
The Ringdove or Cushat (Colum ba palumbus), Fig. 112, belongs to the family Columbidae or Doves, and is the largest British species, and has a wide distribution in Britain and Europe. A black ringlet round the neck, edged with white, gives it the name of Ringdove. In winter the ringdoves are gregarious, assembling in vast flocks in woods. They separate and pair in the spring, often nesting in pleasure grounds and in trees in fields. The nest usually consists of a few sticks thrown loosely together on a flat sprayey branch, and is often so thin that the white eggs can be seen from below. Two broods are reared annually, and each of a pair of young. The "crop" of these birds is of large size and of double conformation, the so-called "pigeon's milk" consisting of the mucous secretion of the glands of the crop mixed with the softened food, which, being regurgitated from the crop, is used by the parents to feed their young. Both sexes incubate, and the young are entirely dependent upon the parents' care after being hatched, and pairing generally is for life. The food consists of grain, " seed " as well as ear and stubble, great variety of weed-seeds, such as charlock, wild mustard, etc., acorns, leaves and tops of swedes and turnips.
It is also partial to leaves of "greens" (Brassica tribe) in fields and gardens, particularly recently planted cauliflower plants, and occasionally devastates pea crops.