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Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Colombaccia, Wood Pigeon hunting

We have 2 strange towers in our street (don't look at me soo, it's our street on the first photo too). I thought always, those are Medieval guard towers, but somebody said me, it's not true: those towers were used to hunt Colombaccia.

What is this: colombaccia? It's a sort of wild pigeon, columba palumbus, Wood Pigeon. (Photo from this site). It's bigger than other pigeons and that is why, I think, was and is so interesting for hunters. These pigeons have white lines down the middle of the wing and are easy to distinguish. Once they were very numerouse in our zone, I think, and maybe migrated in autumn and spring, these I'm not sure. The internet sites like this don't say they are migrating birds.

I tell you here about a story I read in old books.
Once Wood Pigeons were sooo numerous that they migrated in great flocks. The hunters spread enormous nets on their ways over the mountains. And from the towers they watched if the flocks are coming in the direction of the net. Because, they say, the most difficult part of this hunt was, that they had (and have today too) to study winds and clouds, the colour of the sky, examinate territory befor the hunt begun. And had to wait many days.

Today hunters use guns. And maybe it's not so terrible for the population of pigeons. But sometimes they blind one-two pigeons to use them to attract others. Today they do it with special bung. The pigeons make noise with their wings and others come in this place too.

In the years I live here, I've never seen great flocks of Wood Pigeon. "La Colombaccia" is now a restorant that remembers the old times.

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