Timid, Wild Creatures.

To: "birding-aus" <>
Subject: Timid, Wild Creatures.
From: "Reg Clark" <>
Date: Sat, 7 Dec 2002 23:58:36 +1100
Hello all,
No doubt the hot, dry conditions we have been experiencing here in Sydney
were the cause, but it left me very bemused at the time.
I was watering my petunias one recent afternoon when I noticed a movement in
a bush about two metres away and about a metre and a half below me on a rock
ledge which was immediately under the Redbrowed Finch's seed tray . At first
sight I thought a Spotted Turtledove but no, it was something bigger, it was
a Brown Cuckoodove. We regarded each other with mutual caution for a minute
or so and it occurred to me that it might perhaps enjoy a little gentle
spray on this very hot day (38C.). Adjusting the nozzle to a fine spray, I
slowly directed it bit by bit, onto the shy creature. The Cuckoodove's
immediate reaction was to close its eyes and stretch forward into the
moisture whilst fluffing out the feathers on its breast and abdomen . It
held this pose for some minutes appearing to find this very pleasurable. It
then settled back on the branch and to my surprise, leaned over sideways to
an angle of about 45 degrees and extended its left wing vertically, allowing
me to thoroughly spray its "wingpit" . This went on for two or three
minutes, and then, apparently on the understanding that " you can't get
enough of a good thing", the bird leaned over in the opposite direction
raised its righthand wing vertically
 and permitted me to soak the'' wingpit'' on that side. All the while this
was happening -something like 5 minutes - the Brown Cuckoodove appeared to
have its eyes tightly closed and be in a state of sheer bliss. It next
turned around to have its back watered with all of feathers raised and after
a  minute or so , shook violently several times and flew off into the nearby
gully and I went back to the petunias.  After such a deliberate use of human
resources , in such a human-like way , I almost expected a "thank you !"


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