I WAS out walking through a stretch of thick pine plantation in Glen Devon recently when I stumbled upon the half eggshell from a woodpigeon lying by the path's edge.

Once the eggs hatch in the nest, the mother woodpigeon will deposit the empty white eggshells some distance away.

The remarkable thing about my discovery is that it happened right in the middle of autumn – which gives an insight into why the woodpigeon is such a successful and ubiquitous bird.

Virtually all our bird species breed in a relatively narrow timeframe in spring and early summer, but the woodpigeon is content to cast aside such hindrances and there have been records of breeding in Scotland in most months of the year.

I imagine they can extend their nesting season by taking advantage of spilt grain in our fields after harvesting.

Even as I write this piece I can hear a male woodpigeon ardently cooing in the wood behind my house, keen to attract a mate.

If he succeeds, then it could be early November before the young have fledged and are on the wing.

The pigeon family certainly does seem to have an inherent ability to adapt.

Feral pigeons are, of course, frequent in urban areas of Clackmannanshire, but perhaps the most astonishing story lies in the expansion of the collared dove, which is often seen in the leafier suburbs of Alloa and many of the Hillfoots towns.

In what has been described as one of the most remarkable ornithological events of the 20th century, the collared dove didn't even occur here until the mid-1950s when it then rapidly colonised the British Isles after spreading north-west from Turkey.

It has been suggested that a genetic mutation affected the birds' sense of direction and encouraged them to move north and west from their core range.

The collared dove is now totally at home here, and like the woodpigeon, it too has an extended breeding season.

They are very dainty doves – fawn in colour and with a black half collar – and often hang around in pairs.

The expansion of the collared dove and the ability of the woodpigeon to adapt to our changing landscape underlines the sheer dynamism of nature.

Of course, they are the success stories – many more animals and plants are in decline and totally unable to cope with habitat loss and other manmade pressures.

And even the success of our woodpigeons and collared doves should not be taken for granted as is borne witness by the plight of the passenger pigeon.

A native of North America, it made the tragic journey from being one of the most abundant birds in the world during the 19th century to extinction early in the 20th century. A lesson for us all.