In April 2008, a group of Noisy Miners (Manorina melanocephala) was attacking a helpless Spotted Dove (Streptopelia chinensis) in Centennial Park, Sydney while Dr CH Lee a.k.a. lchxian was trying to photograph a frogmouth.
“The Noisy Miners were harassing the dove, flying over it and using their claws to grab the dove. I was not convinced at that point that the claws of Noisy Miners could do much harm.”
The miners spread their tails as if in a war dance and surrounded the poor dove that was totally intimidated. One by one the miners made individual aerial attacks, leaving the dove injured.
“There was this urge arising from deep in me… maybe I should be compassionate and help the dove out of danger. But craving for good action photos, I struggled with the decision to stop photographing and start to intervene with the natural world.
“…As I walked towards the birds, a couple walked by. They turned their head to have a look at the commotion and walked on… Later they turned again, seeing this Chinese boy standing near the injured dove, fending away the noisy miners. I wonder what they were thinking…
“As I stood near the dove, it looked scared and badly injured. There were hardly any feathers left in its tail. Surprisingly, as I stepped back to take this photo…, the Noisy Miners attempted another aerial raid. I had to pretend to kick them, to fend them off.
“Standing over the injured dove, I was hoping that it would gain enough strength to fly away. But it just sat there. The Noisy Miners were still loitering around, waiting for their chance to finish up the dove.
“At this point I decided to pick up the dove and send it to a vet. As I held the dove in my palms, it struggled and flew off. One Noisy Miner started to chase after it, luckily the dove managed to fly for cover in a bush nearby.
Noisy Miner is a common Australian bird. Its typical diet consists of nectar, fruit and insects. Occasionally it feeds on small reptiles or amphibians.
A territorial and gregarious bird, it lives in small groups and aggressively defend their area against larger invaders such as magpies, currawongs and crows. They may attack smaller birds inside their territory, particularly in suburban environments that favor them. Although adapted to urban areas, it faces competition from the Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis), an introduced species to Australia. It is also commonly mistaken for the Common Myna.
For a more detailed account, please go to Ichxian’s site.
All images by Dr CH Lee except portrait of Noisy Miner by Dr Eric Tan.