Thursday, September 24, 2009

My Garden Birds | Do Birds Think?

What determines a birds activities, where it goes, what it does, Do Birds Think?

I sometimes wonder as I look at my garden birds, do they have a conscious mind, are they capable of thought processes like we humans, or are they merely living automatons following a set of inbuilt complex instructions.

When they awake each morning do they think "Ooh what a lovely morning, nice to see the sun again, what shall I do today?" or "What a lousy night, those bloody Starlings kept me awake all-night again with their incessant chatter, I am going to move out and find somewhere else to roost."

We know that they appear to have definite feeding circles or routes that they take each day, but they are able to adapt these in order to find new places where food is plentiful (such as our bird tables) and abandon those places that are no longer productive. Are they programmed to do this, do they learn this by example from adult birds, or do they think about it logically.

I often see the squabbles of the Starlings, Sparrows, or Tits as they feed in groups, the biggest, bravest or most assertive amongst them ensuring they have first pickings before they may need to take flight if threatened. This of course is all part of natures programme, the survival of the fittest, but is it all automatic response or are actual thought processes at work and are individual personalities involved.

I watched one of the regular Wood Pigeons sitting on the edge of the garage roof by the Pear tree, seeming to relax in the warmth of the September sun. It looked to be enjoying the peace, bathing in the suns rays as we ourselves would do.

So, Do Birds Think? I guess I'll never know, unless I die and come back as a bird.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Young Wood Pigeon Pictures

A few days ago this young WoodPigeon visited our garden, making good use of the feeder tray that still held some grains of seed. I managed to capture a few Young Wood Pigeon Pictures before he flew away.

This is the second youngster of this species that we have seen in the garden recently. How many actually survive to this age I do not know though I am sure many perish before attaining this age.
One pair of Wood Pigeons at least, nest each year in the tall conifer behind our garden but I think the nests are usually predated by cats, magpies and maybe even the squirrels. We rarely see young that survive to fledging.

Note that the young birds do not yet have the white markings that is so noticeable on the adult birds, that will come with the next moult.

This last picture is an earlier youngster making a brief appearance on it's own, but was also seen several times with it's parents.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My garden Birds | The Return

Here we are, half way through September ( the time seems to fly much faster than any bird, where has this year gone) and My Garden Birds are starting The Return as I knew they would.

From late July and throughout August we have very little bird activity in the garden apart from the regular Woodpigeons and Doves. The Blackbirds and Robins are absent for a much longer period than this, seeming to disappear when the young have grown strong and independent.

Now more and more birds are beginning to show again, especially in the early morning and evening. The last few days have been blessed with some good weather offering very pleasant evenings when the Starlings and House Sparrows have been busy in the garden. They seem to flit around playfully before lining the branches of the nearby conifer tree where they now roost.

Early mornings are the time when we are seeing once again the Blue Tits and the Great Tits, delighting us with their acrobatic skills as they hang upside down on the bird feeders, hopping around, and taking turns to peck out seeds and nuts. I would most likely have witnessed much more activity if I had spent more time actually watching the garden but have not had much time to do so lately. Obviously you can not observe the comings and goings of the birds if you do not take the time to look.

I will soon be off to Australia for a few weeks but before I go, I look forward to seeing and enjoying more of My Garden Birds as they make the return to my little plot on the landscape.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Wood Pigeon | Woodpigeon | Ring Dove

Columba Palumbas to give the true Latin name, identifies the bird referred to variously as the Wood Pigeon, Woodpigeon and occasionally as the Ring Dove.

I had always written this birds name as Woodpigeon, but my spell checker tells me I am wrong to do so. It says I should write it as two words, namely Wood and Pigeon. I looked it up on Wikipedia, the online dictionary, and it too infers that I am incorrect. I do however have some very learned authors on my side as all of my English written bird books, including those published by the RSPB, call the bird Woodpigeon.

Further research showed that a higher number of people enter wood pigeon on Google search, than enter Woodpigeon. I wonder what the birds themselves feel about this inconsistency in their naming.

"Well they always just call me Woody"

"I don't mind being called Wood Pigeon, that's all right by me."

"WOODPIGEON, that is what we are called, always have been, always will be. No question about it, Damn nonsense if you ask me."

"I could not care less. I just wish they had made this bird table bigger."

"I hope someone decides what we are going to be called before I grow up."

And of course I did mention at the beginning that these birds are also sometimes called Ring Doves. I have not actually seen any reference to this name in bird books but I have been aware of this name.

The term Ring Dove derives from the white band clearly displayed around the neck of the adult birds.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Extraordinary Pigeons

I may have mentioned previously, a pair of Wood Pigeons that I look upon as being Extraordinary Pigeons. Extraordinary in the sense that they seem almost human at times and seem to have more personality than one would associate with the normal Wild Wood Pigeon.

This pair of birds that I often refer to as a couple, have been regular visitors to our garden for over three years and have stayed together all that time. I can recognise these two when they are together by their habits and the way they react to each other, of all the Wood Pigeons that frequent our garden these are the only two that I am able to identify.

The only time their habits changed was in the middle of the summer months when they were nesting in the tall conifer that stands very tall behind our garden. I am certain that one at least of the two youngsters that we saw in the garden was the offspring of this romantic pair.

Romantic Wood Pigeons I hear you declare, well yes indeed, every afternoon or early evening they eat at the feeder, drink at the bird bath then sit together cooing and canoodling, preening and caressing each other, which usually leads on to other things.

I have never before witnessed a pair of birds so inseparable and so loving towards each other, that is why to me they are indeed, Extraordinary Pigeons.