Have you ever wonder where do birds go when it rains? We would assume they take shelter somewhere? But where?
Has anyone documented these birds taking shelter somewhere? Not just one or a few birds but large flocks taking shelter? Just like birds roosting? But then photographers and birdwatchers also take shelter when it rains, thus missing the opportunity to track the birds. James Heng is one birdwatcher who managed to provide part of the answer years ago.
This afternoon I saw a male Pink-necked Green-pigeon (Treron vernans) perching on a semi exposed branch during a light rain (above). Maybe because it was not raining heavily that this it stayed soaking up the rain drops for at least half an hour.
The raindrops fell onto its plumage and soaked its fluffed breast feathers. The pink feathers on the nape and neck that characterise the male of the species were disheveled. On and off it shook off excess water from its feathers. At intervals, it indulged in preening (above).
In another tree nearby there were a handful of these green-pigeons perching on the periphery of the tree crown, their neck feathers showing signs of wetness (above). However, the green-pigeons here remained for only a few minutes before flying off.
Above is a video clip of the Pink-necked Green-pigeon soaking up raindrops.
31st December 2017
Lee Chiu San
Aviculturalists who enter their birds in shows and exhibitions know that bathing is necessary to maintain good feather condition. This is not a problem with most thrushes, some parrot species and many other species because these birds will readily bathe themselves if provided with shallow trays of water.
However, it is well known that many pigeons and doves refuse to bathe in trays of water. The seed-eating doves (Columbia, Streptopelia, Geopelia, etc) prefer to bathe in dust, or to sun themselves to kill mites and other parasites. Spotted doves (Streptopelia chinensis) appear tolerant of great heat, and often bake themselves on my driveway where i believe the temperature of the concrete would actually roast them if I was contemplating a cook-out.
It is also known in aviculture that many species of fruit-eating pigeons like to take showers. Though they will not bathe in trays of water, they have very often been observed deliberately standing in the rain, both in aviaries where they had the option of taking shelter, and in the wild. This could be a natural behavior to keep their plumage clean.
Yes, you are right Chiu San. Thanks for the feedback. This will come in useful when the flow of new materials dry up…
Hi, recently found a little pink-necked green pigeon – about one palm length. What can I feed it with? She can’t grip very well with her beak.
Lee Chiu San
If it is not yet weaned, then feeding could be problematic. All baby pigeons and doves (and parrots, which some scientists believe are related to pigeons) spend the first weeks of their lives feeding on “Crop Milk.”
This is not just food which their parents have consumed and regurgitated. In the case of pigeons, doves and parrots, the lining of the crop actually exfoliates.
Yes, the parents throw up, including their stomach linings, and the babies eat that. Hardly sounds appetizing, but that added organic matter must be very nutritious because the babies grow well by consuming it.
Fortunately, because parrots and parakeets are bred commercially in large numbers, artificial substitutes for crop milk are available from pet shops. These MAY work for pigeons and doves. No guarantees.
I have used Purina Hand Feeding Formula quite successfully for a variety of softbilled birds as well as for young parrots. It is available from Goodwill Bird Trading at Block 154 Serangoon North Avenue 2. A standard pack from the factory is expensive and will be far more than you will need for one bird, but the staff at Goodwill can often be persuaded to sell you a smaller quantity for about $10 that will see a baby bird through until it is old enough to feed itself.
Mix the food into a paste, then use a syringe (also available from bird shops) to gently squirt it directly into the beak. Somebody may have to assist you in holding the bird and keeping the beak open to get the food in.
Always make sure that the food mixture is at room temperature before feeding. If too warm, it can scald the insides of the baby bird.
After it is weaned, please be reminded that pink-necked green pigeons and all the others in the Fruit Pigeon family CANNOT survive on seeds. They will require soft fruits such as bananas or papayas, and pellet food of the kind used for feeding frugivorous softbilled birds.
I rescued a female pink-necked green pigeon fledgling and it has been about 10 weeks now (estimated to be around 2.5 months old) but it still can’t feed on its own. She’s able to drink from a tiny cup and pick up seeds or even Macarthur berries but seems to keep dropping them before swallowing. I’m still hand feeding it, but with solids and fruits. Not sure what to do as I do plan to release it?
Lee Chiu San
Ha, ha! The bird is manipulating you! Aviculturalists know that there are many species of birds that will not feed on their own as long as someone is prepared to hand feed them.
This lazy behaviour is encouraged in the trade because very, very tame birds, especially those that approach people to beg for food, are more easily saleable. Therefore, pet shops and professional breeders continue to hand feed young birds long after they should be able to fend for themselves.
But if you want to release the fledgling, then, this has to stop. You have to encourage it to eat by itself.
To do so, you need to get it interested in picking up food. Sorry, but seeds and the berries of MacArthur palms are not the first choice for green pigeons. I would suggest soft fruit such as papaya or banana cut into small pieces. A bit of chicken feed or softbill pellets, available at most bird shops, can be mixed with the fruits. Put the mixture in a shallow container. And allow the bird to go hungry for a day.
When it starts eating on its own, you can increase the proportion of pellets or chicken feed.
By the way, your green pigeon might not be a female. Most young birds have female colouration in the early stages of their lives, and the males only show their true colours when they attain adulthood.
What?! Really? I left a few branches of Macarthur berries hanging in the cage and before I fed it in the afternoon, it plucked more than 40 berries off but didn’t even manage to swallow 1! Also left some bird food pellets in a cup and it did the same – pick and drop. Yes, I’ve also been feeding it fruits like banana, papaya, etc. However, it seems to get excited over the Macarthur berries and peck at them first (though without eating on its own).
Anyhow, thanks for the advice. I’ll try your method of leaving small pieces of fruit in a shallow container in the cage as well as let it go hungry for a bit and see…
By the way, when does the pink-necked green pigeon reach adulthood?