Jim Thomson | A dove is in their air, everywhere you look around ...

JOINT VENTURE: The male Peaceful Dove places a small stick in place as the pair construct their nest.
JOINT VENTURE: The male Peaceful Dove places a small stick in place as the pair construct their nest.

Over the years I have found some attractive birds – some, fortunately, far more prominent than others.

One such bird is the Peaceful Dove which I found very prominent in the Atherton Tablelands region of North Queensland.

They can be found all the way from South Australia right around the east coast to the top end, and in to Western Australia.

On my last trip to North Queensland I found a quite a few pairs nesting and others preparing to nest.

Peaceful Doves are closely related to the Diamond Dove, and it is quite normal to find both in the same area.

They avoid direct competition by selecting food from seeds in a different range of sizes. In addition, the Peaceful Dove has a strong nomadic habit that enables it to move to areas that are not as accessible to its more sedentary relative.

One of the wonderful things about searching for bird life in the Atherton is that we find many species and take numerous photographs but what we are looking for is that one shot that tells the story and has impact.

It’s not always easy to find, but when it comes along you have to be prepared for it.

Last season I managed to get one such shot. Two birds were building the nest and the shot catches the male placing a small stick in place (see top image).

That’s what I mean by timing  – you only have seconds to respond, and then the moment is gone. 

Peaceful Doves usually live in pairs or small groups, but large congregations can be found when many such groups converge on a favourite feeding place or at water.

They nest and roost in trees and bushes but feed entirely on the ground.

The general behaviour and sexual display  postures of the male are similar to other doves. They all perform the bowing display towards the female or while walking swiftly behind.

A great number of elderly people are now thinking of moving off to the top end for their winter break. Great weather makes it a good spot for a holiday.

One of the best bird watching areas would have to be Lake Eacham and its surrounding area. Top bird guides are also available – Alam Gilander is one that comes quickly to mind. There’s also top information and accommodation at the Lake Eacham Caravan Park.

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