The wood pigeons visiting our garden seem to be undergoing something of a population explosion lately. They first bred two summers ago, raising one pair of squabs, and did the same last year. This year they have bred twice already – and it’s only June. I’m rather fond of their soporific coo-cooing on warm summer evenings but what I find particularly interesting is the way they feed their squabs. The parent birds park them in secluded spots in the garden and when they return the excited squab first raises its wings then shuffles up to the parent and puts one wing around its back, as though its hugging a long-lost friend. Then comes the less cute part, where the squab pushes its head down the parent’s throat to induce it to regurgitate food. This ‘hugging’ performance goes on long after the young are well fledged, although as time goes by the parents become less responsive, until the youngsters are forced to fend for themselves. These pictures show the mother-and-child performance on our garden seat this evening.