I love seeing Crested Pigeons.
They are a resident breeding species in our garden and five acre block of land on the outskirts of Murray Bridge, South Australia. We see them every day around the house garden and throughout our small patch of mallee scrub. They love coming to our bird baths in the warmer months too which means we get to see them up close and personal on most days. We also delight to see the iridescent colours on their plumage as the sunlight catches the various shades of the rainbow.
One thing I have observed in this species is their proclivity towards breeding. They always seem to be courting, mating, nesting, brooding eggs or feeding young. All through the year. No breeding season for them – though one field guide I consulted says breeding takes place mainly in spring and summer but can be most months.
A few days ago I looked out of the window towards the bird baths as I was walking through our sun room. On the ground near one of the bird baths I saw two Crested Pigeons cuddled up to one another in the weak sunshine. We’ve had some bleak wintry weather in recent months. Over the next few minutes they took it in turns to preen one another’s feathers, mainly around the beak, head and neck. It was such a gentle, caring touch and seemed so loving – if I can show a touch of anthropomorphosis for a moment.
I didn’t take any photos. My camera was at the other end of the house and there was a stick in the way which would have spoiled the photo. The short episode was over in several minutes but I am sure that my memory of the moment will endure.
This evening I was sorting through some bird photos taken some months ago – earlier this year in fact. I’m not sure if I posted these photos at the time but that doesn’t matter.
I was once again bedazzled by the subtle colours on the wings of these Crested Pigeons. I’ve seen these colours glinting in the sunlight many times, and each time it catches my breath.
On one memorable occasion decades ago I was in my mother in law’s garden and I was able to steadily walk up to one of these pigeons until I was no more than 2 metres away. On this occasion the wing facing me was in bright sunlight and shone beautifully in many colours.
At first glance this species appears a dull grey all over. It is only when up close, and in the right light conditions, that its true beauty shines.
Adelaide Zoo has an excellent collection of birds, both Australian and non-Australian birds. In addition to those kept in aviaries, there is a thriving population of local birds which come in to feed in the animal enclosures.
Crested Pigeons are in evidence everywhere and on this occasion I managed a few good shots of some. This is generally very easy for they move quite unafraid amongst the zoo visitors. Those shown on today’s photos were feeding in the Emu enclosure, along with a few Spotted Turtledoves for good measure.
This afternoon I’ve settled with my laptop in the sunroom to do a little writing. It’s a lovely post-Christmas summer’s day: around 30 degrees, not a cloud in the sky and a gentle breeze coming in through the window near to my left elbow. After all the food in recent days – we’ve had two family gatherings with lashings of food and plenty to drink – I’m not sure how long I will last doing some writing. The eyelids are rather heavy, and the more comfortable chair about two metres away is very tempting. So is sleep. A grandpa nap beckons.
Just as I was getting comfortable at the keyboard (and NOT in the easy chair) four Crested Pigeons (see photo of one above) came to one of our bird baths just outside the window. The four of them jostled and flapped for position. Fact is, there is not enough room for all of them on the one bird bath at the same time. They are sure to topple it over, spilling the contents in the process.
So, like all well behaved and courteous birds, they took it in turns to alight for a drink. So civilised, despite all the flapping. And when all had drunk their fill, they all flew off together to another part of our property. They headed for a spot where there are a few trees and many thick, scrubby bushes.
I wonder if they are nesting again.
I might have enough energy to check them out later – after my nap.
Earlier this week I was out in the garden taking photographs of some young Grey Currawongs being fed by their parents. After getting several good shots I went for a wander of The Estate; we live on a five acre (2 hectare) block. My attention was attracted to this Crested Pigeon perched in the sun on an exposed dead branch of a bush. (Note to self: tidy up that part of the garden and plant something alive.)
Crested Pigeons are very common around Murray Bridge. I have observed loose flocks of 20 – 50 perched on power lines in many parts of the district. They are a resident breeding species on our block of land, and seem to nest most months of the year. (Perhaps that is why they are so common.)
I must say that they are very obliging photographic subjects.