Unlike the rook, crow and magpie mentioned the woodpigeon is good eating. Indeed, a dish containing portion of rabbit and finely sliced breast of woodpidgeon is good eating. Indeed, a dish containing portions of rabbity and finely sliced breast of woodpidgeon has been enjoyed at Parknasilla, and pigeon breasts are common in poultry shops and supermarkets. By the same regulations as those mentioned yesterday, (take a deep breath), coming under the European Communities (Wildlife Act 1976) (Amendment) Regulations 1986 (5.1. No 254 of 1986) as you will have read, if not digested in advertisements in the newspapers, various wild birds may be killed in the interests of agriculture and disease control.

The woodpidgeon, in particular, not carrier pigeons racing or homing pigeons or doves, may be shot with rifle or shotgun until May 31st in the case of serious damage to arable crops including cereals, legumes an brassicas. Farmers know their business, but one man told of an enormous rook invasion after sowing of cereals in his own land. Oddly, he never had a better harvest. Did the rooks clear out the noxious creepy crawlies and grubs? Or was it just coincidence?

Pigeons in general which are found to be contaminating food in storage, and thus a threat to public health, come under more severe strictures. They may be shot, poisoned or dealt with by anaesthetic bait, the latter two only under permit. Dicey point. What if their poison got into the stored food? Even the familiar jackdaw in your blind chimney may be condemned for serious damage to cereal crops, brassicas, potatoes and beet. Or damage to livestock feedlots. But just shoot. Don't remember an outbreak of rifle or shotgun fire in various known areas. Perhaps the automatic, repetitive, bang bang scaring device is sufficient.

How the word crow has entered the English language! To have a crow to pluck with some one. As the crow flies, meaning in a direct line. Even Shakespeare, like ourselves, had difficulty with the difference between crow and rook when he wrote: "The crow makes wing to the rooky wood".