Welcome to the News section of the iNSiGHT Ornithology website (
www.simoncherriman.com). This blog contains updates about various things I've been up to, interesting environmental issues and observations I make regularly while going about my day. It is designed to be fun AND educational, and inspire you about our wonderful natural world. Happy reading!

Monday, 30 January 2012

Pigeons: After the Storm

The morning after the massive rainfall 10 days ago (around 80mm in Mundaring!) I found some unlikely survivors of the rough weather. As you can see from the above photo, this Common Bronzewing (Phaps chalcoptera) nest was still in one piece and its two lustrous white eggs were safe and sound. The incubating female scared the life out of me when she flapped away suddenly as I walked unknowingly past her nest site. Bronzewings build one of the simplest bird nests possible, a flimsy gathering of twigs placed anywhere from a metre above the ground up to 20 metres high in the canopy. They can breed any time of the year, depending on the seasonal conditions, and the owners of this nest must have thought the timing was right this month!

This nest was only about 2 metres above the ground in a dense bush, very easy for me to access. I kept track of the birds during their incubation period over the next 10 days, and once I managed to creep close enough to photograph the incubating female without disturbing her. In this photo her beak is just out of sight:

Today I visited the nest and was again trying to photograph the female pigeon sitting, when she suddenly flushed, revealing that her 2 eggs were now hatched! I’ve only seen baby Bronzewings twice before, years ago when I was exploring the local forest near my home. It was great to have my memory refreshed on how different the chicks look to their fully feathered parents: soft, blonde down covering their tiny bodies, pink skin, and a beak which looks more like that of a duck! The little egg tooth is still visible in the second photograph here:

After finding the hatched Bronzewings, I was eager to get footage of them being brooded, so mounted my GoPro camera on a neighbouring branch and camouflaged it with bark and leaves. As you can see, the incubating female (who returned 20 minutes later) didn’t seem to even notice the camera as she eagerly returned to sit on her young...

Bronzewings from Simon Cherriman on Vimeo.

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