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squabs around, Cleveland's burgeoning woodpigeon population is about to be increased even further.

In addition to being another word for a stuffed cushion, a squab is a young pigeon.

The youngsters are the same size as their parents but are easily identified because they lack the distinctive white patch on their necks.

This fine picture of an adult woodpigeon was taken by John Money at Scaling Dam.

The one thing you can guarantee about woodpigeons is that every breeding season is a successful one - and it doesn't reach a peak until August.

It's no surprise to read that the woodpigeon is Britain's most common large bird with the numbers of pairs surpassing 2.5 million.

In fact over the past 50 years woodpigeon numbers have increased by 8,000%. I recently spent a week on holiday in Norfolk and woodpigeons were absolutely everywhere.

They do have predators, including people with guns.

avocet chicks on Teesside.

This most attractive wader, which is the emblem of the RSPB, continues to strengthen its grip since starting to recolonise the UK towards the end of the 1940s.

Avocets can usually be seen in good numbers at Saltholme at the moment and if you are very lucky you might spot a couple of chicks. I was fortunate to see two chicks last week that apparently had fledged only the day before.

While avocets watch over the new offspring, it is remarkable that the chicks start to feed themselves as soon as they leave the nest.

They grow very quickly, which is just as well considering that eagle-eyed predators such as lesser black backed gulls are occasionally mooching around.

If you have noted any interesting or unusual wildlife sightings in and around Teesside and Cleveland lately, contact Eric on

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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Jul 10, 2019
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