Saturday, May 03, 2008

Columba fasciata: Bandtail Pigeons Revisited

A post such as this is surely to return annually, but only as long as its inspiration continues to return. I've been feeding these birds since the latter part of the last century. The first bird is usually in the tops of my red alder in early March of every year. This year was no exception. I saw the first one on the 12th. Okay. So that's late early March. Maybe even early mid March. You get the point. This year is different, though. Cuz I have the new picturer to freeze them. Thanks to Somewhere Joe, I have been able to slow the wings down a bit. The first captures were blurs. Thanks, Giusepp, for some good sharpening tips.

These work for me. My favorite pose is when the wings beat forward, nearly enveloping the body in a hollow hug. Next favorite is the bird whose elbows touch on the wild, slapping upbeat. I hope you enjoy their beauty as much as I do. What you can't "enjoy," however, is being woken up as hundreds of these birds explode off the tables in their ritual survival maneuver that is based upon the instinctive axiom, "Don't stay in any one place too long." As quickly as they jump up, they begin fluttering back down to the boards in drizzling layers of participation until once again getting "that uneasy feeling" and thundering off into the lower branches of the alder and Cascara sagrada.

Once again, here they are...

This was taken on April 19th at 0730 hours. It felt more like 7:30 in the morning, though.

They will stay in the higher branches of the alder for several hours. Then they move down to the lower branches of the Cascara.

The first thing I do every morning is take look through the skylight of the guest bathroom to see who might be lighting in the tree tops. This is what I get to see.

Here is a lucky shot---four birds in the forward wing beat, two in tandem and nearly perfectly synchronous.

This is what makes the thunder in the morning. Birds bumping into each other. Birds stepping on each other, adhering to the rubrics of panic. There could be a hawk. Or a bobcat. You can't be too careful. Every year I come home to some fresh blood on the table and tufts of feathers gathered on the ground in whatever areas of the lawn the prevailing breezes pushed them along until they came to their final resting place, never again to fly.

Then it's right back down for more of the glut.

The scare tactic worked. The bandtail kicks up a dusting of oiled sunflower in its wing vortices.

While the mature sport this beautiful green metallic plumage on their necks, this guy to the left clearly has pin feathers. Young bird? Repairing bird? Dunno. An anomaly I cannot explain. I found a pin feather on the board the other day and wondered where it came from.

We do not have blue jays here. There are scrub jays over in the Willamette Valley. We have steller's jays here, tufted heads and all. Voracious cleaner-uppers are they. Raspy songed opportunists whose beautiful appearance attempts to excuse them from their rudenesses.

And when the crows and the jays aren't around, these folks get a crack at some chow. I'll see your four pair. And raise you.



At Saturday, May 3, 2008 at 11:06:00 PM PDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome shots! I love them.

When I reach the P portion of my alphabet challenge, you must come by and see the peacocks. They came riht to my feet and posed pretty for me, so I obliged and took dozens of photos, a few of which I will share in about 13 days. Today I am sharing a Classic Caddy and tomorrow (midnightish) will bring a dragon.

At Saturday, May 3, 2008 at 11:14:00 PM PDT , Blogger Gawpo said...

QUILLY: And I hope E will be eating.

Your peahens and peacocks are fab. Are those birds just not the most beautiful of all? Excellent.

At Sunday, May 4, 2008 at 6:07:00 AM PDT , Anonymous Bwookie said...

Oh wow, those pictures are fabulous! I have a serious case of camera envy. But I know it's the photographer and not the picturer that made the pics so good. I just really want a digital SLR to play with! lol

At Sunday, May 4, 2008 at 7:11:00 AM PDT , Blogger Gawpo said...

BWOOKIE: You could continue to celebrate your birthday, Bwookie. All you have to do is look for the Nikon D40 on sale now for under 500 smackers in some parts of the country (San Francisco, for instance) with the two basic lenses. is a place to read about this picturer.

Oh, and thank you!!! xo, G

At Sunday, May 4, 2008 at 3:16:00 PM PDT , Anonymous snavy said...

Those pics are so cool!!!

At Sunday, May 4, 2008 at 3:23:00 PM PDT , Blogger lime said...

i'm trying to hum a few bars of 'when the swallows come back to capistrano' but change the words to doves and oregon...

that new picturer of yours sure does get some dandy shots, and yay for friends who help us figure out how to do that!

can i move into your guest bathroom,that's a great view!

At Sunday, May 4, 2008 at 9:03:00 PM PDT , Blogger Gawpo said...

SNAVYLICIOUS: Same to you, but more of it! You iz tres cool, Dahlin'. xo

LIMERS: But what are friends for?

Of course you can move into the guest bathroom. But you have to make reservations at least a year in advance. No, no one else has asked, but I just want it to seem important to you. yuk.

At Sunday, May 4, 2008 at 9:47:00 PM PDT , Blogger Gawpo said...

SCARRRRRRRRR-LLLLLLLLETTTTT!!!!!!!! I am still locked out of your blog. Could you PLEEEEZE send me another invite link? It wouldn't work last time. And I miss you so much. Gracias, amiga.

At Sunday, May 4, 2008 at 10:10:00 PM PDT , Blogger Cheesy said...

Winged beauties in all their glory.. thank you! I loved the last little reddies the bestest~~

At Monday, May 5, 2008 at 5:14:00 AM PDT , Blogger somewhere joe said...

A thing for winged things you have.

I like the declention of this series, from setting, to high branch, to descent, flurry, feed, aftermath. These are crisp. Sports mode?

Interesting that the juvenile crow can buffalo the flock of bandtails... initiative counts, momentum. To extend your cards metaphor, in the game of Euchre having the lead is known as having "the hammer," and can overcome your opponents' ostensibly stronger hands.

Your series ends with a touch, jay and redbird, of color. A dessert. I'm content.

At Monday, May 5, 2008 at 7:01:00 AM PDT , Blogger lime said...

ok, put me down for june 27 '09 for a week or so. my oldest will have recently graduated and i may need a place to sit and contemplate, boohoo, or retreat to, i dunno...yer a pal, ole gawpo, ole buddy. love ya!

At Monday, May 5, 2008 at 10:12:00 AM PDT , Blogger Bazza said...

Nice birdie shots Gawpo, love the Jay, love the finches, hate the pigeons. Over here we call them flying rats. By coincidence we also have birds over at Bazza is.

At Monday, May 5, 2008 at 1:16:00 PM PDT , Blogger Butch said...

I enjoyed them all! Besides the Cardinal, the Stellar Jay has to be one of my favorites.

I used to put out peanuts, shell and all out for who ever would get to it first. I thought one Stellar Jay was going to choke trying to swallow the peanut. He worked around one way, then the next until he finally found the best way to swallow it. I could not believe he swallowed the whole thing. He went back for more afterwards. Their call is very unique when they announce themselves at the bird feeder or birdbath. Thanks.

At Monday, May 5, 2008 at 3:04:00 PM PDT , Blogger vicci said...

I LOVE the birdies of this world!!! I have a raven that talks to me from high in a ponderosa pine....of course...I talk back!
I'm departing on my journey next week....:-)
Love ya...XXOO
Great photos Gawpo !!!!!

At Monday, May 5, 2008 at 10:20:00 PM PDT , Blogger Claire said...

I lurve all yer birds dude!! Those stellar jays are not pussies like the bluejays that live here are. I rescued one from a mob of brown towhees right in my own backyard. Right now in my little 'Pacific Flyway' AKA my backyard, there are tons of baby goldfinches, house finches, nuthatches and sparrows. I love watching the babies figure out life! So cute.

At Tuesday, May 6, 2008 at 10:36:00 AM PDT , Blogger Candace said...

Ooooh! I love those!! Did you write something with the seeds? I wanted to come up with a corny pun, but I sure can't accuse your photos of being grainy. ^_^

At Wednesday, May 7, 2008 at 10:31:00 AM PDT , Blogger mindy said...

great pictures, as always.. boy, jaron would love to watch those birds!! maybe i should set up some kind of bird feeders and see what comes...

At Wednesday, May 7, 2008 at 8:03:00 PM PDT , Blogger Gawpo said...

CHEESEBUCKET: Geee. I wonder why the RED HEADS were your favs. lol That is a favorite of mine, as well. You know...the redheads?

JEAUX: As is the liturgical plan for both parts of the Mass in the Eucharistic prayer as well as in the prayers of the faithful: You start out globally and then refine to the local gathering. I didn't plan it that way here. Must be.....ingrained. (ouch. but wait til i get to Candace.) Matter not what you say, Joe---you will always have the hammer. We all love the pummeling as you well should know. Leave it to you to know the game of Euchre. I live nigh in the shadow of a mountain by the same name. The abandoned U.S.F.S. lookout tower is still a visible landmark. It wins my notice when ded reckoning my way back to the airport each and every time.

Oh, and by the way----yes. Sports mode (and an ISO push) has been berry, berry good to me.

LIMERS: Got you penciled in for the listed dates, ole buddy, ole pal!

BAZZER: Ha! You said the same thing last year about pigeons. Some things just do not change. Lovely, that.

BUTCH: (uh-oh....when i began your name, the second letter was at first an "i"!!!) Yes. Those tufts. I look to the Cedar Waxwing for the same pointy visual thrill. I am so jealous of those who get to have Cardinals. All we get are bishops and priests. (GAWD, I'm funny!) So far I have gathered a following of 8 jays to the feeding boards. What characters. Love them.

VICCANCE: You have a local raven? I am so envious. Don't you just love that deep, throaty voice? They are the best. As are YOU. xoxoxXO, G

Bon Voyage soon! Can't wait to hear about it.

Oh, CLAIRE: The babies are little sub-wonders all in their own little way. Soon I will be hanging blankets over my windows off the deck where they naively crash into the glass, not yet smart enough to distinguish the reflection of a branch from a real branch.

CANDACIA: There's a kernal of truth in your comment, Candace. Your crack about a corny pun is but a shell of how seedy you can be when you've rolled out the humor you sow best.

MINDANCE: Yes!!! Get thee to a hummingbird feeder vendor, STAT! And get a couple hanging feeders, Girlfren. Jaron will give you hours and hours of pleasant viewing by just being able to watch him watching the boids.Do it! Do it! Doit!

At Thursday, May 8, 2008 at 2:08:00 PM PDT , Blogger Gillian said...

I loved this birdie post. So amazing. It is nice that you see to feeding them each year. A true gentleman is you.
Heartfelt thanks go out to you for wishing Olivia a happy Birthday! You are very sweet. Eight years ago today, I needed percocets. Yup.
I hope you enjoy your day...week...month. Seeing as you are a once-a-monther now. That is fine by me. As long as you keep posting I'll be happy.
I know when I visit I'll get a quality read, much like visiting our Brother Jeaux.

At Thursday, May 8, 2008 at 11:11:00 PM PDT , Blogger Gawpo said...

BLUE TSG forever to me: Aw, shucks. You got the message. Did I send that from my cell phone? Can't remember. It was a looooong day (a 14 hourer), all overtime for the big plans I have. Yes, BIGGENS to quote Jeaux. Speaking of which, we need to nail down a Chez Jeaux Ron Day Vu at Siesta Key, oui?

Hope the 8 year old had a fantabulously provided-for day of happiness over the getting borned of her. xo, G

At Saturday, May 10, 2008 at 11:21:00 AM PDT , Blogger Scarlet said...

Gawpo Hitchcock, ¡qué fenómeno! Once again, you amaze us with an unexpected treat after a long absence. You've done a fabulous job of capturing these feathery little friends of yours in their everyday life, every color, every size. Te felicito.

BTW, a little birdie told me you were asking about me. ;) Mi amigo, ¿qué pasó? I didn't hear you rasping on my chamber door; I would've answered. I'm not trying to keep you contrario. "Seek and you shall find." Te espero como cosa buena. :)

Tu amiga, Scarleta

At Monday, May 12, 2008 at 9:13:00 PM PDT , Blogger Brett said...

O.k. ya friendly cadets, let's check out your sleuthing skills. How many minutes will it take you to "find the kleptomaniac"?

At Wednesday, May 14, 2008 at 5:50:00 PM PDT , Blogger Katie McKenna said...

Hola Gawpo! :)

At Friday, May 16, 2008 at 6:05:00 AM PDT , Blogger Candace said...

**pokes Gawpo with a stick to see if he's still breathing**

At Monday, May 19, 2008 at 1:10:00 PM PDT , Blogger Greg said...

Ye gods, Gawpo, that's some serious bird action you got going on! I've never seen or heard of a stellar jay before--they are most beautiful...and the purple finches always so cute--them I know!

Great bird pictures...nice to see you enjoying that picturer-thang you got!

At Tuesday, May 27, 2008 at 12:29:00 AM PDT , Blogger Laume said...

We have those red ones as well - are they large finches? Small sparrows? I don't know. We get yellow finches en masse in the fall. They love my sunflower forests, a positive by-product of my lazy spring weeding.


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