Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Monday, May 17, 2010

Pigeons on the line.

My local pigeon is the Wonga Pigeon (Leucosarcia melanoleuca). A big fat one. I saw him today, flying from just below my deck, down into the Sassafras trees, where I took the photos of the seeds (published yesterday).

Wongas are walkers. Their natural habitat is the forest floor. They eat fallen seeds.
A Wonga Pigeon coming for a drink at George's patio.
By contrast, the "Brown Pigeon" as I grew up knowing it (Brown Cuckoo-Dove), and the White-headed Pigeon are both birds of the treetops. Really that means they are "fruit eaters", but how they choose to define fruit is at least "flexible" (you will note that all three species come to my friend George's feeder, but even then the Wonga prefers to scavenge for seed spilled by other birds). But there is no denying the difference in habits, and if you live in the tree tops, you do not eat fallen seeds.
Brown Cuckoo-Doves on a Feeder at George's place.

In the case of the White-headed Pigeons, (Columba leucomela) they are still regarded as being within the classic "Columba" family (as with the "Rock Dove" Columba livia - the common introduced Pigeon).
A pair of White-headed Pigeons. (Male facing camera).

Apparently in the NSW North Coast, and probably also in southern Queensland, the White-headed Pigeon has been advantaged by the spread of Camphor Laurel trees. That is not an issue here, as those trees do not like our frosts.

Last week I was surprised to see several groups of White-headed Pigeons fly up the valley (from the Belmore Falls area). I know that these birds are relatively common in Kangaroo Valley, and that is the most direct route from KV to Robertson. I know they like the local Lilly Pillies. which are just fruiting up.

Anyway, for the first time that I have ever seen, a family of White-heads chose to land on the power lines opposite my back deck, and I got this shot.
The male is the clean-looking bird in the centre, with red beak and red eye. The others might be females. Juveniles have a grey cap to their head, and are less clean on their front.

Brendan sent me some images from his place, near Narooma, where he regularly feeds large groups of White-headed Pigeons.And this is an image I would be happy to have taken myself.
A fine male, White-headed Pigeon, in perfect condition. Note the metallic gloss on his feathers.


Flabmeister said...

G'day Denis.

A notable contrast to Carwoola where we have two pigeons, the Crested Pigeon (spreading east from the drier country) and the Common Bronzewing. Both are seed munchers with the Bronzewings enjoying the seeds of Acacia dealbata.

You don't mention Spotted Dove: are they beneath contempt or just not established at Robertson?



mick said...

All new birds for me too. I really must get out and about further from the coast now the shorebirds are not here.

dining room tables said...

I really like how you capture the photos! They are so beautiful! The colors are so crisp!

catmint said...

what a fat pigeon!!!!!