Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Wood Pigeon comes for a visit

One of the more privileged sights for bird watchers in New Zealand is that of the Native NZ Wood Pigeon. (Also known as Kereru which is the Maori name) The Wood pigeon would have to be the biggest bird to ever visit my garden. According to Wikipedia, they can grow to be 55cm long (20 inches) from head to tail weighing up to 850grams (1.87 pounds). When you witness one up close they seem much bigger. They're often seen gorging themselves on tree borne berries. This shot was taken in a tree privot outside our kitchen window. (In NZ Privot is classified as a noxious weed and at this time of year they're covered in berries.)

The first time I witnessed a wood pigeon landing in Loquat tree (which is one of their favourites), I swore the branch was nearly going to snap under its weight. They can be quite comical to watch after they get a belly full of berries. Not only are they weighed down all the more from pigging-out on all the fruit but as the fruit ferments in their gut they become intoxicated and have difficulty getting air borne again.

But when they do it's a spectacular sight. If you're ever standing nearby, the "Wooshing" sound they make when they take to flight is quite breathtaking. You can't help but marvel at these beautiful creatures. And then he was gone...

This photo taken by Michelle from Christchurch 
shows off the beauty of this birds' paua shell colouring...

I really must get myself a decent camera!


  1. The green colouring on his/her head is lovely. I love all birds. Even plain sparrows & starlings fascinate me. I love to see them flying free as I dont like seeing birds caged. Great photos Dave

  2. The photos I took doesn't do justice to this birds true colouring so I have added a better photo (taken by Michelle from Christchurch). The feathers on his head, breast and wings are iridescent and change colour every time he moves. Although they're mostly green and purple, you can also see hints of red, yellow and orange like a paua shell.