Massive surge in Topknot Pigeon numbers

To: birdingaus aus <>, Bruce Cox <>, Mia Dalby-Ball <>
Subject: Massive surge in Topknot Pigeon numbers
From: Ricki Coughlan <>
Date: Tue, 18 Sep 2007 19:10:54 +1000
Hi all

I was on Lady Carrington Drive in the Royal National Park today with a couple of friends from the US. Without a word of exaggeration, we counted over 500 Topknot Pigeons.

The day began with a fly-by of 140 birds at the entrance to the trail, very closely followed by another 100. Both flocks flew up the valley in a north-easterly direction. We shortly observed another two flocks of at least 60 birds and then another 100+ foraging in Cabbage Palms about 1.5 kilometres along the trail. The noise of calling pigeons, falling fruit and seeds, etc., had to be heard to be believed. Flocks of 30 to 70 birds continued to move up and down the valley at regular intervals for the remainder of the day.

Counted some twice? The patterns of movement and timing in which we saw them travel made for a minimum of 500 birds. It was actually easily possible that we saw more than 700 birds but I would have to concede that some of these birds could have doubled back and been recounted - but maybe not.

In the past I have thought that observations of a few flocks of 30 birds was an exceptionally good day's observations at this location but this whole event has turned all of my observations since the 1970's on this trail on their head.

Speculation for the reasons for this are probably pointless at this point. I can only suggest, at a pinch, that the birds are moving further south in a big way or perhaps the Cabbage Palms are doing than better ever in this location and word has gotten around.

Happy birding
(a mindboggled)
Ricki Coughlan



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