On Saturday I went around to a friend's place in the suburb of Duffy here
in Canberra to see a nesting bird that they were unsure of - they are not
birdos. It turned out to be a Spotted Turtle-Dove on a nest with two eggs,
and the mate is around the place as well. So, I repored it to the Canberra
Bird Hotline like a good fellow, since there are only a handful of reports
of this species in the ACT over the last 15 years, and certainly no record
of any attempt at breeding.
The response I got from Ian Fraser, the Hotline coordinator who is also a
well known local naturalist and eco-tour opperator, was basically one of
persuasion to do "everything in my power to ensure that the breeding
attempt was unsuccessful", citing the effect they have had in other places
they had colonised, particularly Adelaide, as justification.
Now I know well the impact of birds such as Common Mynas and Starlings on
native birds and ecosystems, and hate them accordingly, especially the
Mynas which I have seen actively evicting parrots including galahs from
their nest hollows, but I don't know how much to hate the Turtle-Doves.
The Reader's Digest book says they outcompete other pigeons such as
Bar-shoulders and Peacefulls and Diamonds where the coexist, but they are
as rare here as the Turtle-Doves. It also says something like 80% of their
food is grain from aviaries and chicken coops etc, so again, where is the
competition? I also feel I have been taken into the confidence of the
people whose yard they have nested in (they have just gone on holiday for 3
weeks) and have said I'd keep an eye on their progress. ...So I'm unsure
what I want to do in terms of "unsuccessfulising" the breeding attempt.
I'll be phoning Ian Fraser tonight to get more information from him, but
I'm also interested in hearing anything that any of you think about this
Hoping to get a good response,
Harvey D. Perkins
Divn Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Faculty of Science ph: +61.6.249 2663
Australian National University fax: +61.6.249 0313
Canberra, ACT, 0200, Australia email: