Sandy, Bedfordshire: After three mornings, the male’s song changed and the birds began billing instead of cooing

At the songless end of summer, a bird was playing trumpet down my chimney. A clatter of claws on the tiles, a count to three, then “cu coo-cu” came echoing out of the fireplace.

The next morning, and every morning thereafter, collared doves were back on the rooftops, trading coos with woodpigeons. It was a dawn chorus made for two, for no other bird in early August has any reason to challenge their monotonous aural supremacy. And the doves had regained their spring wings, fired up to flirt, court and mate. As the sun climbed in the sky, so too did the doves, making swooping display flights, wings fanned out, plumage pale October grey against remorseless blue.

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