Tuesday, December 25, 2007


I've been at work today, but managed to pop out of the office to take a photograph of a Collared Dove, roosting in the office courtyard.

This bird is one we take for granted - sometimes to the point of not even liking it, or completely overlooking it.
Its only been a breeding resident in this country for a little over 50 years, (after first breeding here in 1955) and yet, only 17 years later, in 1972, the population was estimated at over 40,000 pairs!
There has been nothing like this bird in terms of rate of breeding success on our islands, and there possibly won't be either - and the population of this species now is pretty well uncountable.

Its call is often mistaken for that of a Cuckoo - though the dove generally gives three notes to its repeated call, unlike the cuckoo's two.

There are a few birds in Britain with red eyes - mainly waterbirds.
Some of our Grebes, the Merganser, the Coot and Moorhen, the Oystercatcher and Pochard spring to mind, but along with the Dartford Warbler, this bird is one of the very few "land-based" birds to exhibit a quite stunning RED eye, albeit quite dark in this species - a "dark crimson" rather than bright red.

Like I said - I popped out of the office briefly this evening, to photograph one on its roost, in the office courtyard.
I had a wee bit of trouble with the focus, as it was in the pitch black, but I think the result isn't too bad... and the flash (which the Dove didn't mind at all), seemed to really make the crimson eye a brighter red.

The bird of the day for me on Christmas day, is NOT a Partridge in a Pear Tree, (or two Turtle Doves) but .....The humble (yet stunningly successful) Collared Dove.

I'll post the photograph above to enable any readers of BG to, you've guessed it, "Click to enlarge".

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