From the archives – mid August 2016
Out of all the birds I’ve photographed over the last 8 years, the Spotted Turtle-dove (Streptopelia chinensis) has become my favourite (except for the Nankeen Night Heron).
I guess this is partly because they became quite tame and allowed me to get very close to them (when I was living on the north-east side of Melbourne. Once they discovered my bird seed bowl), I suspect they relayed the message to all their friends as my previous apartment was overlooking a dark steep laneway and warehouse and possibly not visible to most of the avian population in the area.
I’ve only seen on dove on my balcony fence in my current location and then, was too slow bringing the camera up to my eye in order to photograph it.
Even when they weren’t standing on my balcony fence, they were ‘roosting’ on the warehouse roof opposite. The 2 Spotted Turtle-doves in the image below were not fat, merely had their feathers plumped up as they huddled together in the early morning chill of mid-Winter.
I used to call them Tweedledum and Tweedledee from that well-known classic children’s book my C.S. Lewis.
I often awoke to the sound of doves cooing in the morning. I suspect they were calling me to come and fill the seed bowl.
The tamest of all is the one below, easily identified by the tiny tuft of feathers above its right eye.
Sometimes they would move suddenly from the fence to the seed bowl and I wouldn’t have time to zoom out with the telephoto lens in order to capture their whole body within the frame. I have plenty of images with their legs chopped off.
Many of the other dozen or so doves that came to visit regularly were slightly less tame and would raise their wings ready to take flight if I got too close.
I haven’t noticed any special feather pattern in the House Sparrows that visit my current apartment balcony regularly and the only way I can get really close is by using the 150-500mm lens and keeping very still so as not to scare them away (as I sit at my desk).