The Wing-Friends and Other Books

In Blogger's slideshows images are greatly reduced, so lose much of their impact. And captions added to them in Picasa Albums vanish, so the images shown above are: the Milky Way, the Orion Nebula, Earth, Earth with New Zealand circled, New Zealand, Auckland & the Hauraki Gulf, Waiheke Island, some native NZ forest, a Fantail and chicks, various doves, etc.

(If you want to see the first ten images in their original size, they are in a posting made on the 24th of November 2011.)

My book The Wing-Friends is an imaginative tale of a small brave boy, a magical adventure, a magnificent Pegasus and the wonderful Kingdom of the Pegasi. It has been given very good reviews, and virtually every reader on Goodreads has so far awarded it five stars. It is available here. Some of my other writings are available as e-books, such as The Lower Deck, which is an over-the-top take on Waiheke happenings--sort of.

Monday, 29 October 2012


The wild dove that has been in my office more than any other is the one I call LightFeet (because her feet, or more accurately her legs, are lightly feathered, in contrast to her mate BigFeet2, who has thickly feathered feet and legs, even more thickly than BigFeet1). She is the tamest of the wild doves in my forest, and has been since she was a chick two years ago. She will perch on my arm or shoulder for a long time, even for hours. But she has never, till now, been able to work out how to get out of my office. We have always had to go through long rigmarole, in which she flies up to something higher than the Yamaha keyboard, which might be my head to start with, or something higher up, and looks about all over the place, and finally, if I hold the outer door open long enough and often enough, gets the message and goes out, sometimes on foot, sometimes on the wing.

But RedFeet worked it out very quickly. She goes and stands by the door, the side where it opens, so she knows which is which, and if I do not notice her she flies up to my desk to get my attention, then back down to the door after I get the message and rise to let her out.

She even comes and knocks on the door when she wants to be let in. It took me a while to realise that the thud or peck on the lower corner of the door, again on the side that opens, was her. So now when I hear that I open the door, and she is so eager to get in that she squeezes through when it has only opened just enough.

In recent weeks the two have been coming in together, and LightFeet has watched what RedFeet does and now copies it.

The two cannot be in the same place at the same time, so LightFeet flies up to 'her' territory, the Yamaha, and RedFeet stays on the floor. She knows that if she flies to the Yamaha when LightFeet is there she will be bundled off.

RedFeet's mate, DarkFeet, knows the same thing, but for him the competing bird is LightFeet's mate, BigFeet2, who always flies to the Yamaha. DarkFeet knows not to go there if BigFeet2 is there, although he will sometimes try it on, but when I point to the floor he will go back down. Or BigFeet2 may get to him first and bundle him off with loud protests.

When I go outside in the morning I am greeted by a melee of doves. Fourteen this morning, plus the new chick, which has a fine line of short feathers down each side of its legs, so I call it LineLegs.

After the feeding melee, with doves all about me and on me, a beautiful sea of white bodies and excited wings, some will come inside.

First in is BigFeet2, because he knows he will get more food than if he stays outside with the others. Later in the morning LightFeet and/or RedFeet come in. Or DarkFeet. In the afternoon the same birds will come in. DarkFeet or BigFeet2 are usually the last ones, often not leaving till it is getting dark, which surprises them a bit, because they go out of a well-lit room into the twilight.

All the doves are all cheesaholics (so are the blackbirds). LightFeet, RedFeet and BigFeet2 actually ask for cheese. Literally sometimes. A coo and an expectant look means 'I want cheese, not rolled oats or muesli grain. Cheese! Now!' They know where it comes from. The fridge. So when I go off to the fridge they look expectant and get excited.

I turn my back when I'm cutting it into small cubes, so that they don't fly into what is, first and foremost, my food. But LightFeet often tries to get round that by flying to my shoulder and looking over it.

If she and RedFeet are inside together I have to divide the cheese and hold it out in both hands sufficiently apart to prevent a small battle. LightFeet will fly to one hand, RedFeet to the other.

When there is no more I hold out my hands, empty, they scan them, look disappointed, and wait for more if they have not had enough. Sometimes a bird will gorge itself so much that it will have to massage its crop and stretch upwards about to settle it all down.

Wild doves outside, in my dwelling-place, on my hands. Every day, several times a day. Special times. Dove times.

Monday, 15 October 2012


Fringes is learning. As darkness approached I saw that instead of the ground it had chosen a broad ledge on the side of the building on which to spend the night. Safety! :-)

Sunday, 14 October 2012


Fringes again spent the night on the ground in its favourite spot--safely, to my relief. In the morning fourteen adult doves came down to feed when I emerged. I assume that the lower numbers means that there are several sitting on nests. And some adults are eating fit to bust but are staying slender, so they must be feeding chicks somewhere.

At first this morning there was the normal melee when they are all scrambling over each other to eat bits of Colby cheese from my hands, followed by bits of bread. Then I scatter rolled oats about. When they were eating the latter Fringes came and joined them and ate too, making the plaintive 'Feed me!' cries to the ground instead of a parent. Earth Mother?

It had tried a little bit of other food on the ground yesterday, rather hesitantly, but today was the first time it had joined the rest and fed with them (I have yet to work out if it is male or female). Quick learner...

I hope it will not be long before it learns that doves go high up into the trees for the night. A parent has been lingering with it until almost dark but it has yet to get the message and follow.

Till it does, stay away cats and dogs!

Thursday, 11 October 2012


'Fringes,' the first of the spring chicks, did survive its all-night stay on the ground, and after making plaintive pleas to adult after adult after adult I saw it find at least one parent, and be fed. :-)

Wednesday, 10 October 2012


I went out at twilight, and found three doves on the ground. Two obviously knew me, but the third, a smaller bird, did not know what to make of this large creature. I soon realised from its ceres, the stains of pigeon milk down its breast, and its plaintive cries that it was the first chick I have seen this spring.

I managed to get a photo of it, although it was just after six so the light was too dim for a good shot, but I did not want to use a flash for fear of frightening it. Adult birds do not mind a flash but it has never seen one.

It obviously did not know what to do, or how to get back to its nest. It must have followed another bird down, but not back, so it had to settle down in a hollow between roots where it will have to spend the night. I'm glad the black cat that had been trying to get at the doves vanished months ago. I hope it survives.

The new bird has distinctive feathering on its legs and feet--rather like the fringes some cowboys had on their leather pants, so I shall call it Fringes.