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Feeding of Spotted Dove: 11. Five months on

on 7th October 2010

I have been feeding the female Spotted Dove (Streptopelia chinensis) in my garden since May 2010. First a single dove visited. In June she brought her partner. By August her partner failed to come. In September, however, her partner returned on and off. Subsequently one or both came to feed on the birdseeds.

At the same time the scattering of birdseeds, then oat flakes, attracted the Eurasian Tree Sparrows (Passer montanus). Both species feed together, the doves swallow the seeds whole while the sparrows ‘dehusk’ them before eating. There are now nine sparrows around most of the time. They are shyer than the doves, flying off whenever I come near. Nowadays the sparrows fly to the ground whenever the doves arrive. The cooing of the doves also brings in the sparrows, which seem to know that food is about to be dispensed.

The doves are getting used to my presence. During my breakfast, one or both will enter the house and approach me, as if asking to be fed (above left). Usually it will leave a drop of poo on the floor if I am late in responding. In the evenings one or the other will wait around the bench where the birdseeds are kept. Once, a dove even entered the house at 6pm when I was having an early dinner.

One of the Spotted Doves is becoming quite tame, allowing me to approach her to within 30 cm. I have even succeeded on a number of occasions to encourage her feed out of my hand. But this takes patience and placing the outstretched hand on the ground (above right).

YC Wee
Singapore
October 2010

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

Other posts by YC Wee

4 responses

  1. Feeding wild birds has been a common practice in the west… see http://besgroup.talfrynature.com/2010/09/27/how-to-attract-northern-cardinals-using-birdfeeders/#more where birdfeeders are commonly found in home gardens. This has yet to be adopted in this part of the world. A big bonus in my feeding Spotted Doves is that it allows me to watch them in their antics at close range. And so far, I have managed to document new and exciting aspects of behaviour as well as details of morphology.

  2. Well KF, I can assure you that Y C was not the first one feeding wild Spotted Doves,
    at least he does not try to capture them and tie them down on a hanging platform
    to listen to their cooing, and cooing the whole day long …

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