Wednesday, March 09, 2011

The Pales Perch, Driving in Mourning Doves, the C Crows Protect Their Kitchen, the First Fly, and the Rats on the Galapagos

Photo courtesy of

Typically Pale Male faces out keeping an eye on things while at ease stretching out his leg and curling his talons. Also typically his mate perches looking into the building. That's how Pale Male and his mates have sat on this particular perch on Linda for all the years I've watched. It is obviously an innate behavior for that situation. Also note that their neighbors have courteously pulled the shades down so that they will not see their reflections in the glass. At this time of year, Pale Male has a tendency to thump the glass hard with his feet as a reflex when he sees the reflection of a hawk there.

Copulation, twigging, and long scrutiny of the nest for possible faults, particularly by Pale Male, are proceeding apace for this time of year.

Suddenly a male "driving" a female Mourning Dove appears in view on the feeding area. Note how the female's head is forward; she is rushing. These are young unbonded birds and the male is attempting to get the female to say, "you are the one". He will follow very closely on the driven female's tail in an upright stiff legged posture. She keeps going faster and faster in an attempt to get him off her tail. She will also fly off and he'll often follow her closely as she tries to get away. On occasion he will even peck at her tail in this special form of pigeon/dove courting. Note her tail does look a bit worn compared to the rest of her plumage.

Also note the slightly purplish color on the top of the male's head and his neck. Those sections of feathers will be iridescent in brighter sunlight. That is how one can tell that a particular dove is male without a smaller female mate nearby to compare their sizes.

This male is so determined he flies up in the air and appears to be going to land on the female. She's already got one foot up ready to trot away. She doesn't fly off yet as there is fresh seed in the snow and she attempts to peck some of it while being rushed around. His eye is on her and he seems not to notice the fresh pickings in the snow at this moment.

She's trotting off when she notices me with the camera and takes to the air.

The male stands stock still and looks kind of befuddled that she left. Why would she do that? He wants her.

He then happens to look down. Oh, seed! He begins to feed, forgetting the female he was driving momentarily.

She on the other hand has done an end run and is now behind him sitting on the toasty warm birdbath.

Perhaps there will be two pairs of doves to watch this breeding season.

A few days earlier, the C family of Crows protects their kitchen, the goodie stump and the bird bath that they use to rehydrate human food items they've foraged. Both are a prime part of their territory. Groups of Crows are migrating through the area and the Cs have chosen for the most part to protect my back yard.

Their primary defense consists of Carol and Junior sitting on the log fence, calling warnings while Chris, the large male does flyovers, perches out of sight, and then does another flyover.

Having been warned, the visiting Crows are allowed to fly through on the other side of the wood fence and so far none have come into the backyard proper. Crow manners?

First House Fly of the season, on the outside of the glass.


The Galapagos Conservancy said on its website that before the poison was deployed last weekend, scientists removed 20 Galapagos hawks from two islands and placed them in cages where they will be held for about two months. The raptors might otherwise have fed on rodents that consumed the poison, it said.
(There are only 20 Galapagos Hawks?)

Happy Hawking!
Donegal Browne

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