Saturday Evening Post #158: Pair Bonding

I had most of this blog written last week, and was happy with the draft.

When my blog friend Eleanor mentioned on Flickr, a book by Gisela Kaplan called “Bird Bonds” I was very interested and found a copy on Amazon Aust.  I’ve several of Gisela’s books and find them full of both researched data, and also anecdotes of birds she has observed.
I often find myself sharing on this blog about anecdotes of our time in the field, and the various birds we work with, so I enjoy Gisela’s work.

Thanks to Amazon, the book arrived quickly during the week, and as EE said, “It’s the kind of book for an early to bed night in the cold of winter.” Plenty to read and ponder.

We all follow or enjoy birds for a variety of reasons.  None more important or sensible that another.  For some its the number of birds seen on a day out. For others a desire to see as many species as possible during a year.  For others the chance to find a vagrant or rare bird among hundreds on the beach. (a skill I have to say that has not even a shadow in my gene pool, all I only ever see are a large flock of birds).  For others, a chance to document the comings and goings in their particular ‘back yard’.  And of course for photographers the chance to get that one definitive image.

I have an acquaintance who used to have a folio or folder for each species.  There was only one photo in each.  If he managed a better shot, than the older one was replaced.   So a trip though his library of images would only have one of each.

I guess I don’t fall into any of those categories.  I take most of my birding ethos from Jon Young, and his book, “What the Robin Knows”, and as I’ve said before its about building links with just a few birds.  I tend not to chase numbers, or species or even wayward vagrants.
I’m much more the sit and work with just one bird or pair.

I sometimes get asked about the things I write both here and on Flickr about individual birds, and it comes from following a pair as often as we are able.  I find the enjoyment of watching the antics of a pair one of the most satisfying things I do.   Adam asked the other week, why I don’t show a lot of Rainbow Lorikeet pics and  I do have several reasons,  one is that others are always able to show some great photos of these cantankerous birds and their antics, and sometimes, I just get so involved in watching that I forget to photograph them. :-

Some of the most enjoyable times in the field  is with pairs, as they attend to one another, wrestle with setting up home, raising young and the busy-ness of being a bird.

We have followed this pair of Purple-crowned Lorikeets for at least three seasons.  This is from  the beginning of the season last year.  We missed the main event due to lockdown, and when we retuned the old branch of the tree had fallen, exposing their nest and so they abandoned that area.  Not sure if I’ve ben able to find where they have set up this year.
As the nest hole was low down on the tree, it was quite a delight to be able to get up close and personal. They were completely unperturbed by my  presence and that took the strain of them, and me, as we sort of settled in together without any stress.

No doubt as I get through Gisela’s book there will be some of her wisdom I can share on the blog.

With lockdown now lifted in our area, it will be interesting to ponder where we can travel, but wherever a lot of the time will be sitting and soaking up the wisdom that pairs have to share.