ZEBRA DOVES – 4. Perfect camouflage

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The nest of the Zebra Doves is a simple platform of twigs lodged between the branches of a Golden Penda (Xanthostemon chrysanthus) tree. This tree a smallish and the nest is slightly above eye level. The crown is sparse, thus there is no problem in photographing the activities inside the nest.

The house immediately behind the tree and a property on the opposite side of the road are currently being renovated. Vehicular and pedestrian traffic is heavy along this road. Workers constantly move around the tree, but so far have yet to notice the nest. This has gone on for the last 19 days. The dove and the nest are certainly well camouflaged.

The small size of the bird makes it inconspicuous, whether when perched on a branch, sitting in the nest or when flying in and out of the nest. When I walked past it within touching distance, the bird was so confident that I would not notice it that it just sat still. Of course there was no eye contact.

Things are now different. Three workers in the house behind the tree noticed the nest and frightened the bird away. But a few hours later the bird was back in its nest.

There are actually three chicks, detected only yesterday from digital images. They are now 7 days old. Will they be left unmolested? To be able to fledge within a few days’ time? And fly off to lead independent lives?

I am keeping my fingers crossed…

YC Wee
Singapore
4th August 2005

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