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.

7 thoughts on “Saturday Evening Post #158: Pair Bonding

  1. Such an exquisite portrait of this beautiful pair. I am finding I am reading just a few pages of GK’s book at a time and then pondering what she has to say, especially when it is information about a particular bird that I didn’t know before. I do hope you enjoy it too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Eleanor, I like Gisela’s work. Always has a “i knew that but never noticed it before’ kind of moment.
      This little pair were such a delight to work with, as they were more interested in their own bonding and the necessary duties of raising young than in someone peeking into their world.
      Not often it happens like that, but such a delight when it does.

      Eastern Yellow Robins in the Woodlands Sugar Gums were also one of the most cooperative birds we’ve worked with.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds like another good book to read David, would love to see the purple crowed loris, would be a lifer for us. I have a species per folder with sub folders for sub species and it makes for easy location when writing. We are finally enjoying some freedom and are looking forward to a break away in north in a couple of weeks if the rules don’t change again. Hope you a enjoy yours.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ashley, I think many people use some variation of folders per species.
      We used to use a cataloging program called “Shoebox”, sold by a large multi-national company that used to make ‘filum’, lack of sales and development funds let it down. But not gracefully. Its big advantage was Keywords. When Apple produced the original iLife, and iPhoto, we moved to that, we were doing car club events, car mags and some commercial buldings work. Keyword in iPhoto made it really easy to find. EE had something like 30,000 club shots alone.
      iPhoto became Aperture and again keywording was the solution. Lots of good things in Aperture that have never been reproduced in other software. But, it too hit the wall, and we moved to Lightroom and now Capture One. Still Keywording, letting the software handle the location.
      Don’t keyword every image, just those that are ‘usable’ might be 20-30 per shoot.

      Looks like we have a week to go and then should be able to travel out of the city. To be honest neither of us are looking forward to that in an ‘excited’ way. I think we’ve learned to be home bodies.

      Hope all is going well

      Stay safe

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely to see the PcL’s, David. It is a shame when they move, for various reasons. The ‘haircut’ that was given to the Gums in front of the school on Hoppers Lane has caused them, and others, to change location. I did see a Sulphur Crested back there on Friday though. Couldn’t get a shot as the school isn’t keen on cameras when students are on campus.
    I do like working with the local pairs, following their lives and getting to know them. Sometimes I just want to go somewhere else purely for the purpose of seeing different species. And that sounds like a good thing to do at the moment with the winding back of restrictions.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi David, they are such nomadic little birds. When I first started with birds out at Woodlands Park, there where quite literally dozens, bordering on the hundreds. It was nothing to see the tops of the trees in the Somerton Road carpark, packed with the little dudes all singing away.
      Then, for some reason, they were nearly all gone.
      I think we’re fortunate along the Werribee River precinct that quite a number seem to be ‘permanent’, but, it does seem to change locations.
      As I said, I don’t have aspirations of seeing all sorts of species, give me a ‘sit spot’ that is productive, a cup of the Earl’s best and I will be happy for the day.


  4. This is another fairytale picture by you. I could say “fabulous” but my linguistic background prefers “fairytale”. It’s interesting that, besides your photographic work, it was your close and personal acquaintance with particular birds what had drawn me to your portfolio on Flickr and to this blog. Now I’ve got some good books to read, thanks to you and Eleanor.


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