Bronzewing spring

For about the last month, our life has been dominated by a pair of common bronzewing pigeons nesting a metre from our front window, at waist height. Just a bundle of sticks on top of a jasmine. Wonderful opportunity for some photography. Tripod, telephoto lens, but…… shooting through two panes of glass, just one narrow angle of view, low light (so a high ISO to allow for the moving chick and poor depth of field: mostly cloudy days and the nest was in shade anyway), jasmine shoots that were growing rapidly and waving in the wind (pruned in great haste on the few occasions with no parent around). Nevertheless, very exciting!

Bronzewings are in our garden most days. They tried to nest last year, but the egg never hatched. This year, the two parents took it in turns to sit on the one egg. Then, with dad on the nest, we realised that there was the chick. A scruffy little thing, eyes closed, barely visible under the adult. We first saw it feeding on day 2, while dad was still around. A second egg appeared around that time, and from day 3 onwards it was just mum on duty. Every day I tried to get a decent close-up of the chick with it head down the parents’ throat feeding, but it was just about impossible to find the right angle and sufficient depth of field. The feathers developed incredibly quickly. After a week, mum started to leave the nest for brief periods; at day 11 the chick was alone most of the day (hunkered down and never posing for me); on day 12, alone all day the chick was agitated and cheeped constantly. Then on day 13 – just 12 days after hatching – Jane saw the chick on the veranda, tried t scoop it back into the nest, but then it glided down to its waiting mum under the shrubs. And that was it! We haven’t see it since they disappeared into the bushes, though we keep looking. The other egg never hatched and did not last long after the chick left – a currawong had it as a small appetiser. The show is over! Below are a few shots that help the story – not quite day-by-day, but almost.

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