Since arriving in Berlin last month, I have been seeing huge, hefty pigeons with a bright white band on their neck. Often they are in the giant Birch tree right outside of our window, making a racket. The sound of their massive wings beating the air is thunderous. When they lift off, the force of thrusting their large mass into the air causes the branches to shudder loudly.
But after several weeks of asking around and internet sleuthing, I still had not identified this giant pigeon. My friend Till said he had only begun to see them recently while jogging in the park, suggesting that they are migratory. But he couldn’t identify them either. Then yesterday, I had lunch with Christiane who used the expression “eine Ringeltaube finden.” I think the phrase could be translated as “finding a needle in the haystack,” but I was most curious about the word Taube, German for pigeon. Christiane couldn’t explain the entomology though. “It’s just what Hajo says all the time so now I say it too,” she said.
A quick search on the internet confirmed my hunch -Ringeltaube is the name of the giant pigeon. The English name is less lyrical: the Common Wood Pigeon, but the rest of the description is an absolute match: 15-17 inches long and 11–21.7 ounces, white on their wings and neck, small head and pink beak and a migrant to Northern Europe in the warmer months. Their call is like a dove, but louder and more robust.
Most excitingly, Ringeltauben build their nests in trees and just this morning I spotted one outside our apartment window with a twig in its beak. What if it’s building it’s nest right there within view? I would die if I could watch the baby Ringeltauben from my window! And just in time since the babies on Cornell’s Red Tail Hawk nest and Great Blue Heron cams are almost grown and gone.