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And the Winner is…

September 6, 2021

There’s been a ruthless ecological tussle happening before our eyes. A well-established species has been trying to hold on with the influx of a sassy new arrival.  They occupy the same niche, build similar nests, forage for similar food.  This town’s too small for both to flourish.

Spotted Dove (Streptopelia chinensis) photo from Birdlife Australia

The Spotted Dove was introduced to Australia in the 1860s and flourished in urban environments. Its origin is in China and India. I think it was introduced because it is good to eat, but we stopped eating wild pigeons a long time ago. It has dominated the ground-foraging, seed-eating pigeon role probably displacing the Bronzewings. They have been a useful disperser of seed and an important prey species for Goshawks and Falcons. Their nest is a flimsy platform in a bushy mid-level tree.

Enter the New Kid in Town. Once only found in arid inland Australia, the Crested Pigeon has begun to multiply and spread rapidly. It is one of a handful of native birds that have flourished in our farms and cities.  They have gradually extended their range in all directions and are now increasing in number even in Melbourne.

I noticed them becoming more common around my home. I saw the Spotted Doves nesting last year in a bushy paperbark tree. But they were outnumbered whenever they were foraging. There was no aggression, no pecking or nest-destroying. But somehow the Crested Pigeon has won. The Spotted Dove has gone. This year, I cannot find one in the district.

Crested Pigeon (Ocyphaps lophotes)

One Comment leave one →
  1. Lesley Ann Dalziel permalink
    September 7, 2021 8:53 am

    good news

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