Speeding Bronzewing Pigeon
Most people who take an interest in birds know that the fastest bird is the Peregrine Falcon. In a stoop (dive) it can reach speeds of over 200kph and perhaps as fast as 300kph. Most other birds are quite pedestrian by comparison.
Common Bronzewing Pigeons and their cousins the Brush Bronzewings have always amazed me with their speed as they dart through the mallee scrub near here in Murray Bridge. I did not realise just how fast they are able to fly until recently.
We were returning from a visit to Lowan Conservation Park about 40 minutes drive northeast of home. The roadside vegetation is mainly mallee trees, typical of many roads in this area. Our approach disturbed a Common Bronzewing from the side of the road. It proceeded to fly at speed about twenty metres in front of the car. I was driving at about 90kph and was only steadily gaining on this speeding bird. It gradually veered off the road a little but still kept flying along parallel to the road. On catching it I slowed down and kept pace with it at about 85kph until it decided to veer off for a rest. In all, it must have covered at least 500 metres at this speed.