For the birds

I had a rather strange experience yesterday morning. I went outside early, at about 7.15 a.m. to hang out the washing. The line is behind my dad’s office and near our two plum trees. There is a large olive tree next to the second plum tree. When I arrived at the line, there was a collection of birds in the olive tree and they were going crazy, screeching and making a huge noise.

I went over to the trees and, as I drew closer, I saw that not one, but two Loeries (a large grey fruit eating bird), were trapped under the net over one of the plum trees. The trapped birds were in a state, flapping around all over the place and unable to find their way out from under the net. I am way to short to pull the net off the tree, so I rushed inside and grabbed the kitchen scissors. Slash! Slash! I cut a huge hole above one of the birds and it flew away. A few of the birds in the olive tree rose up into the air and followed the escaped bird.

Several remained in the olive tree and they had become very quite as they watched. The remaining trapped bird was still in a panic, fluttering everywhere, and I was battling to cut in the right place to free it. One of the birds in the olive tree started to coo, a soft crooning coo. The trapped bird stopped flapping about and I was able to cut another hole in the net and set it free. The remaining birds in the olive tree then all took off and they disappeared back to the nearby bird sanctuary.

I believe that the birds definitely all communicated, initially expressing great anxiety at their trapped companions and then, the cooing bird, tried to calm down the last trapped bird so I could free it. It was a strange and surreal experience. I know for sure that birds have feelings and express emotions.

I wonder how long it will take my dad to notice the giant holes in the net? I think the holes are a great improvement. Little doors for the birds.

When we were in the Drakensburg during September this year, I also saw a bird romance. The hotel had a few peacocks roaming around and the peacock was romancing the peahen. I took these pictures:

Here is the peahen on the verandah watching the peacock on the grass below
Here is the peacock showing off for the peahen
I love this picture with the rays of the sun shining down and the peacock feathers fanned out in the opposite direction
The tables have turned and the peahen is chasing after the peacock who is disappearing around the corner

64 thoughts on “For the birds

  1. Birds strike me as very in tune with nature and our planet. Goosebumps on how they communicated. And, bird romance immediately brings to mind ritual and beauty. You also remind me to keep the camera handy. πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing, Robbie. ❀️

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  2. Great story and great pictures, Robbie. A few years ago my husband and I were heading out on a walk and noticed that the western bluebirds who had taken up residence in a small hole that sits low in one of the trees were raising a ruckus. Upon investigation, my husband soon learned the cause. There was a large rattle snake climbing up the tree and preparing to invade the nest. He grabbed a shovel and killed the snake, but the whole time the birds were just going crazy. As soon as the snake was dead they quieted down, but I have no doubt about bird communication.
    When my husband was building our house, there were two ravens who flew over and ‘cawed’ at him as he worked on the ladder and he would ‘caw’ back. Now they regularly do fly-bys and ‘caw’ at him and he ‘caws’ back. It’s a purposeful thing on the birds’ parts. I have turned my yard into a bird sanctuary with feeders and baths for them, and this past summer I had baby robins in front of my porch ‘chirpping’ at me for food. I think they communicate with humans who will listen as much as they do with each other.

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    1. These are lovely stories and experiences, Kaye. I am glad to know you are also a bird lover. I have raised two birds by hand and always manage to get quite close to birds without alarming them. I think they sense I like them and that I’m not a threat.


  3. Quite a few birds — especially geese and swans — mate for life. So do doves. I’m sure there are more. Of course other birds are exactly the opposite and will mate with anything and everything. They do have great mating rituals and the girls watch. if they like the show, they say “Okay, let’s do it.” But if they don’t like the dance, they turn away. Sometimes, it’s all a matter of color, other times of something the really looks like dancing. Sometimes, it’s singing.

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    1. I love watching birds, Marilyn, and these peacocks were wonderful to watch and photograph. We have ducks and swans in our local park as well as a number of owls. I also have weaver birds in my garden. They attract mates by buildings nests. Our poor little chap must be on about his 15th nest of the season. The females destroy the nest if they don’t like it.


  4. Birds, and all animals, do have emotions. Some birds are very smart and could have the emotional range of our household pets – why should a dog or cat be special? Yep, I bet they were communicating. Good for you for helping.

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    1. We were so lucky, Liz. The other guests thought I was a bit nuts as I stood there gazing at these birds for ages and snapping pictures too. I thought they were odd to be so disinterested in such a fascinating scene. I felt bad about the birds because we netted the trees. The net wasn’t supposed to be so tight, it was just meant to be a deterrent as the birds peck all the fruit. I don’t mind sharing. Anyhow, we’ve now taken the nets off completely.

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  5. Great story! Last year, I came out of my house to find two peacocks on my roof. I have no idea where they came from. They stayed up there for about three hours. I had never seen them before nor since.

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    1. How interesting, Pete. They must have been passing through. We live very close to a bird sanctuary so we get lots of amazing birds here, although some, like the hadadahs and barn owls are very noisy. I love birds and most other creatures. We had a hyena in our local park two years ago and a crocodile in the dam a few years before that.

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    1. I agree that animals, birds and other creatures definitely have their own way of communicating and supporting each other. We have two hadadahs that live in our garden. It is the third generation and they are raising babies in our tree. We also have a lot of weaver birds and then we get the loeries and the odd owl. We are very lucky, Kerfe.

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  6. I am glad you rescued the birds. They are cool, talking like that. Every day, when I hear the birds here at the tiny house, I am always curious what they are saying. And at first I thought you found peacocks in your garden. Haha!

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  7. Lovely story Robbie. We all love watching the birds, many peacocks wander around the neighborhood of my daughter and we love to watch them through the windows, without disturbing them. My grandchildren have picked up a lot of values about bird love and respect, as we talk about them and their habitat… a creek nearby in a little forest we walk by. Many turkeys too come to visit with their families and they always stay together.

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  8. These animals are far more intelligent than we give them credit for. I once saw a newsclip where pigeons in New York City were riding the subway to different destinations. I’m glad you were able to free the poor things, Robbie.

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  9. I’m convinced the birds communicated. My brother told a story of sitting outside one day when a flock of Cedar Waxwings were busy picking berries from a holly tree. A large cat was lurking nearby and began to stalk them. As the cat drew closer, a mockingbird in a nearby tree began calling out as if to warn the waxwings. They flew away, leaving one disappointed cat.

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  10. How lovely. I had visited a place in Florida that had free roaming Peacock and Peahens. Once set was albino!
    I actually have a photo somewhere of the white peacock with his feathers out.

    How lovely that the birds helped you help them!

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      1. I just feed my backyard birdies. I’ve been thinking I’d like to have them eat out of my hands… but I’m not still long enough. And I really do like watching them from my picture window πŸ™‚

        We have an Asian restaurant we like to go to that has a tri-pic or triptick – three huge panels of both color and albino peahens and cocks. πŸ˜€

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