A sighting in the garden today: brown cuckoo doves. I’ve seen them here before, startlingly portly long-tailed pigeons, hanging out in the neighbours’ tangle of tall trees. I spotted at least three today, one futilely hopping from branch to branch, doggedly followed by a stouter fella: I guess it’s breeding season.
I felt tremendously smug when I first saw this rainforest bird above my washing line. I should have known better, having read Tim Low’s New Nature not so long ago. This is one bird doing alright out in the Anthropocene. It’s a winner.
Brown cuckoo doves are spreading south from their usual stomping grounds. I’m not surprised. If I were a tropical bird, I wouldn’t mind it round Sydney at the moment: third warmest June on record, more than 2 degrees warmer than the longterm average – balmy!
And they don’t mind weeds either. Apparently they relish regrowth around roads and logged forest, and lantana and wild tobacco suit them down to the ground. Witness this shot of a cuckoo dove snaffling fruit from our embarrassingly giant large-leafed privet. Privet tree. Yes, yes, we are going to kill it off and chop it down – the Round-Up is in the cupboard… But reading Low has given me pause. When we poison our oversized weed tree, will we lose our nifty rainforest critters too?