Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Columba fasciata

I used to hunt Bandtail Pigeons. But as they say in my rural county, "Not no more." I kind of got the hint when they reduced the hunting season from the entire month of September to September 15th-30th. The bag limit also went from six birds per day, six in possession, to four birds per day and four in possession. Then the season went to Sept 15th-23rd. Nine days. And the bag limit went to two per day and only two in possession. So you pretty much had to eat what you got that same day if you wanted to go and hunt the next morning. Seemed silly to continue to hunt something that was in such obvious decline. Unless, of course, you subscribed to, "Them Fish and Game people don't know nuthin'." But I don't subscribe.

The last time I hunted was about three years ago. But it's been many years since I hunted a Bandtail. There are certain birds, however, whose flesh I have a weakness for.

I love any gallinaceous bird (just think of Pico de ______ to get where that word comes from). These birds, quail and ruffed grouse included, have white breast meat (just like Pico de _____) and dark everything else. That's because can only fly short distances. Not so much blood to keep the wings flapping as with ducks and geese and----Bandtail Pigeons, which fly many miles per day. When a quail or a pheasant "gets up," there's a good chance you are going to have to go home and change your underwear because the explode, often times right under your feet. And since Bandtails and other doves are not gallinaceous, I'm not missing much.

There are quail and ruffed grouse around here, so I suppose I may venture out again some day. But I pretty much only buy a fishing license now. Besides, look at what I get to enjoy while helping these critters.

These birds are extremely skittish. They have a routine whereby they land on the tables, feed warily, and then explode with a thunderous roar, only to return to the eating surface once satisfied the coast is clear.

You can see how I have had to rig my window to shoot the video without scaring the birds. I will have upwards of 300 birds by June. Toward the end of June, they all disappear to feed almost exclusively on
Cascara sagrada (Chittam), the bark of which contains a very, VERY strong laxative.

Two things about Bandtails: 1) as with all doves and pigeons, they are able to get the most out of a wing beat like no other bird, such that they clap their wings together on the down beat. And 2) unlike other birds---including (I believe) other doves and pigeons, these can drink water without having to hold their head up to swallow. Check it out in the video. Then go see if a dove or common rock dove (barn pigeon) can do the same thing. I will, too.



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20 Comments:

At Thursday, May 17, 2007 at 3:56:00 AM PDT , Blogger lime said...

wow, that's quite a flock ya got there!

pheasant and grouse are good eating. i've not bothered with quail and pigeon because they seem to small to really get much off to make them worth the trouble.

i learned a new word today....gallinaceous. i do so love vocabulary expansion. one question. if my breast is white does that make me gallinaceous?

 
At Thursday, May 17, 2007 at 4:57:00 AM PDT , Blogger ARM said...

OMG it's my worst nightmare. Birds...all those birds in one place!

Oh and is this another post? Only 3 days apart? Yay!

 
At Thursday, May 17, 2007 at 9:13:00 AM PDT , Anonymous Kat said...

I can't quit thinking at all the poop that comes with all those birds! Beautiful coloring on these pidgeons.

 
At Thursday, May 17, 2007 at 9:50:00 AM PDT , Blogger somewhere joe said...

Our own domesticated chicken is a pheasant (gallus gallus) probably bred from the Burmese jungle species. Look at a red rooster - quite beautiful, really.

bwawk!

 
At Thursday, May 17, 2007 at 10:32:00 AM PDT , Blogger Candace said...

Wow! Are you planning a remake of The Birds?

I wonder if flocks of angels do that explosive takeoff thing. No wonder the shepherds freaked out!

 
At Thursday, May 17, 2007 at 11:00:00 AM PDT , Blogger Gawpo said...

LIME: Yes. Impressive, isn't it?

Then I guess, on that logic, raisins and rice are out as well, huh? Three quail would be plenty, especially with raisins and rice. But more than one of each, of course.

ARM: Yeah, sometimes it reminds me of the scene in High Anxiety where Mel does his parody of Hitchcock's "The Boids." These birds don't poop as much, though. Isn't that weird? Probably because they aren't eating pounds of popcorn and bread.

Yeah, I'm going nuts. And you have you to thank.

KAT: Light poopers, it turns out (see above). But not when they get in the house after leaving the door open back when the dog was still alive. I've had to clean a window sill or two. They are huge birds, much larger than the common pigeon. I could never shoot one again.

JOEBIRDNERD: Thank you! I can just see you reciting that with large black framed glasses and a pocket protector. Oh, and with an English accent. May you have a gallinaceous day, old man. Pip-pip. Cheerio. And all that rot.

CANDACE: The scene at the gas station in Bodega Bay was the most terrifying thing I had ever experienced in a movie. Scarier than Gort, even.

Interesting muse, Candacia----I wonder now as well.

 
At Thursday, May 17, 2007 at 1:36:00 PM PDT , Blogger goldennib said...

Is it right to shoot birds on the dinner table like that?

 
At Thursday, May 17, 2007 at 1:46:00 PM PDT , Blogger lime said...

lol, gawpo, i love raisins and rice.... with a lil milk and all thickened up i call it rice puddin with dead flies. of course my grandfather always said the raisins were boogers. good times...good times....

in another bird related note, i can recall my other grandfather sitting in his backyard in a chiar, each palm extended and filled with birdseed. he could get the wild songbirds to come feed from his hand. he taught us how to clal in chipmunks and feed them, but he was the only one who could get the birds to eat from his hand.

 
At Thursday, May 17, 2007 at 2:17:00 PM PDT , Blogger Gawpo said...

NIBBLET: No. It is not right. That would be a bad thing. But now that you mention it, I could probably get enough with both barrels to feed a wedding party.

LIMERS: Yummers! Yes. With warm milk and maybe a little sugar and maybe a dollop of butter.

That is so cool. I wish I could do that with these birds. I have had to catch several that have, over the years, gotten into the house. And when I walked out onto the deck to release them, they mostly just stand there. I talked to one until my arm got so tired I had to move. It flew away finally. But what a wonderful experience. Thank you for sharing that about your grandfather.

 
At Thursday, May 17, 2007 at 4:32:00 PM PDT , Blogger Claire said...

Oh how I love my backyard birds. I have mourning doves here. They are the clean-up crew. The goldfinches, house finches, and sparrows make messes at the birdfeeders, but the doves feed on the ground and usually get it all. They are here all year round and in the winter they will actually come to the feeding perches instead of eating off the ground. I love to watch them through my kitchen window.

 
At Thursday, May 17, 2007 at 4:39:00 PM PDT , Blogger Gawpo said...

OH, CLAIRE: I am envious. Yesterday I was standing on the back deck, looking at the tables and I said out loud: "I sure wish I had some doves coming to the feed." Cherish that. They are wonderful birds.

 
At Thursday, May 17, 2007 at 5:48:00 PM PDT , Anonymous quilly said...

Grouse.

We were hunting one fall and my step-son, 14 at the time, stepped over a fallen tree. A grose exploded from the ground at his feet and he shot it -- both barrels, from about 3 feet away. Nothing was left but powdered feathers in the air. His father and I stood staring at him with our mouths open. "You saw it!" He yelled. "It was self-defense!"

 
At Thursday, May 17, 2007 at 6:35:00 PM PDT , Blogger Gawpo said...

QUILLY: LMAO! As only you can write it!!!

 
At Friday, May 18, 2007 at 5:11:00 AM PDT , Blogger Sheila said...

We have doves in the garden...but no pigeons. They are all down town, where they are known as 'rats with wings'. They make a wicked mess, and yet even so, each one has different feathers that are iridescent, and pretty.The city spent thousands putting up barriers to keep them from nesting around public buildings, but the pigeons won..!
I don't think they are the variety you have here, you must spend a fortune feeding these guys..!

 
At Friday, May 18, 2007 at 9:45:00 AM PDT , Blogger Gawpo said...

SHEILA: These birds are never going to be a nuisance in any town or city. They perch in trees and have specially developed feet with long nails to grab the branches. They also sport a specialized beak with a longer point to engage seeds and berries.

I bought 100 lbs of black oiled sunflower seeds and 100 lbs of whole kernel corn for 55 bucks U.S. It lasts only five days. Oil prices drove up the costs of transportation and so the feed has jumped about 40%.

 
At Sunday, May 20, 2007 at 8:56:00 PM PDT , Blogger Ps said...

These ones (the ones in the video clip) are very common in India too.
have YOU ever tried swallowing water without lifting your head ?
:-)
Let me know.

 
At Sunday, May 20, 2007 at 10:09:00 PM PDT , Blogger Gawpo said...

Ps: Are you certain? I am thinking they must be similar, but I have not found Columba faciata occurring anywhere outside the coastal region of the West coast, and their subspecies occurring in the Rocky Mountains from New Mexico up to Colorado. Hmmmmmm.......

And no, I can't do it. I just dribbled water all over the cat.

 
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