Saturday, 22 February 2014

London Locavore: Wood Pigeon

Five wood pigeons and a Rock dove

Lots being written and blogged about the Locavore diet recently, (food footsteps not food miles) but most of it is about growing vegetables or buying vegetables from someone near by.Where's the protein?
A by product of growing your own is crops in the suburbs is raiding by Pigeons and Squirrels, think of it as the Pigeons and Squirrels inviting themselves for a snack and staying to dinner. As the main course.

London's Grey Squirrel population seems to have been hammered by the recent cold  winter so they are off the menu for the time being. For the main course we'll be having  Wood Pigeon - these are the pigeons with a band of white around their necks.

In the UK you're allowed to shoot pests in your garden as long as the projectile doesn't leave the boundary of your property, so having ruled out the .50 sniper rifles, so with your air rifle over seedlings is probably your best bet.

As anyone who's been pigeon shooting with shotguns will tell you they are pretty much pellet proof unless you can entice them into close range, with an air rifle shooting roosting or bait eating birds head or spine shots at about 30 ft are the way to do it.

Pluck and refrigerate - pretty straight forward, if you want to eat the whole bird pluck the feathers in the direction in which they lie otherwise you'll get a lot of rips in the skin. I usually just eat the breasts pan fried but I'm on a nose-to-tail tip at the moment.  Pigeons really seem to benefit from being hung for a week or more, if that not an option, at least stood in the fridge for a couple of days.

While this post was in the making I saw a TV show mention that the manky Rock Doves from Trafalgar square that we think of as flying rats are actually NOT carriers of any diseases that are transferable to humans, then I saw that Jackson Landers AKA our friend The Locavore Hunter has been eating them in the US. You can see his film about it HERE. If I can get myself past the life long assumption that they are inherently unhealthy they represent an unlimited source of free local food. I tried the Rock Dove pictured; didn't die and wasn't able to tell the difference in a blindfold taste test.

If you can't safely shoot where you are, try calling your local pest controllers - once you convince them it's not a crank call - they're very likely to be able to help out as most of them are shooting gents themselves. One pest control guy I spoke to suggested traps and an air pistol are the way forward for the dedicated locavore. The Trapman sells traps for just about anything you'd want to eat trap.

Hardcore Preppers will tell you that as the oil crisis starts to bite this will be how we all get our inner city dinner. For more about the history of Urban hunting see HERE

More Soon