Posts Tagged ‘band-tailed pigeon’

Several Band-Tailed pigeons were sitting in the half-dead Lodgepole Pine that commands our front yard. Oh, heck: the Lodgepole is the only tree in our yard. All the bird feeders hang from it’s lowest branches. The fungus that is slowly killing it is hidden deep in its heartwood and the birds don’t know it is dying.

Most of the pigeons flew off when I opened my car door.

“What happened to you?” I asked as I stood beneath the tree, looking up at her. I assume it is a ‘she’. She didn’t answer me.

There are some common misconceptions about Band-tailed Pigeons. They are not the same as “Rock-Doves” or the common Rock Pigeon. Those are the birds you see perched on public statues, along bridges and overpasses; pooping on everything; cooing and begging for crumbs in public parks; and generally making a pestilence of themselves.

Rock Pigeons are introduced from Europe, and like the rest of us former-Europeans, they have edged out the native birds. But the Band-tailed pigeon is a native bird. It is much shier than it’s city counter-part and a very nervous bird at the bird feeder.

One bird posts as a sentry while the rest vie for a place on the feeder.

Apparently this bird did not have a spotter and she tangled with a neighbor cat. I found feathers in and around the disputed territory of my bird bath in the front yard.

I think the cat did not know how big of a bird the pigeon was. She escaped, with a few ruffled feathers and a mild case of indignation.

I think I should name her “Fluffy”.

Days pass. Birds come and go. Cats drink out of the coveted bird bath. Birds continue to use it, too.

There were several Western Scrub Jays at play in the bath today, but this is the only one I captured. He was having too much fun.

Water droplets everywhere and not a care in the world!

Nothing like diving into the bath. This guy wants water everywhere.

He closes his eyes and takes a long sip of cool bath water: ahhhhh!

There were several poses like this: he’d pause, look around and try to identify where sounds were coming from (like the clicking of my shutter) or just to make certain no cats were sneaking up on him.

Speaking of cats.

This guy is either parked under my car or curled up under the hydrangea. He doesn’t live with the other cats that come into my yard: the black-and-white ones or the orange-and white one that cross the street to drink from the bird bath. This cat lives somewhere on the same block I live on.

“Excuse moi? I live here. You, human – and your pestilence of canines, are the guest. Capice?”

Yeah, I love this cat: he always looks at me like that and hes very slow to move when I walk toward him. He figures we’re the interlopers and this is his yard. (Yes, I know he is a tom. I have actually petted him.)

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Because I tweaked my back doing housework yesterday, I stayed in all day today. I’d like to say I didn’t do any housework, but the darned old laundry and dishes wait for noone’s sore back. Grumble Grumble Grouse Grumble.

Mostly I bird-watched. Of course Project Feeder Watch is over and all the birds took today to come to our yard and the feeders. Stupid birds: where are they when I want to count them? At least the majority of today’s birds were photogenic and I got some decent shots with my little 50mm lens.

I’ve seen these little birds around for about a week now, checking out the thistle feeder. I haven’t gotten a good look at them but I think they are Pine Siskins. So far, it appears we only have females hanging out and females are always hard to identify.

The English House Sparrows have made themselves at home in Don’s over-grown Hawthorne. But do you think they’d hold still when I appear with a camera? I caught this one on one of my tree peonies just about to take flight.

I had to “boost” this photo in photoshop to get the true-to-life color of the Band-tailed Pigeon’s feathers. He was looking real sharp this morning. Only one – sometimes the whole feeder is covered in these large pigeons but it is mating season and we only get an occasional single bird. They are such striking birds and I never get tired of their antics.

Speaking of antics… The robins have discovered the bird bath. That European Starling was trying to take his turn, but the robins weren’t sharing. I can’t say I feel sorry for the starling, either: if there is a bird I dislike, it is the invasive, raucous-sounding Starling. But I will give it this: it can be a pretty bird and I missed an excellent shot of one close up. My camera was in another room. Darn!

The Starling gave up.

“Ah. Bath time all to myself! Nice little spa here. Full view of any approaching cats, warm water. Think I’ll recommend this spot to my Robin friends!”

There were a couple “missed” shots, too. If my camera was really smart, it would know when to shoot a photo at a speed of over 125ASA. I’m pretty certain both of these shots would have looked a lot different at even 400ASA. 1,000ASA and – well, they’re only as good as the little 50mm lens I have,

The Starling in retreat.

A Chestnut-backed Chickadee making a quick escape. All you can see is his mask & top-notch.

And those were just the birds that made it into my camera! I also saw Western Scrub Jays, Fox Sparrows, Dark-eyed Juncos and Spotted Towhees. It was just a busy bird day.

Now if that hummingbird would find the feeder…


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