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.

Saturday, 22 December 2012


It has been a while since I was greeted in the morning by twenty-one doves flying at me and crowding round me. Some of the adults that used to come have gone somewhere else, so the numbers dropped off. They tend to spread out in the breeding season, and some must have now gone too far away to be including my part of the forest in their territories.

But those that remain still include my special favourites, LightFeet (who is on a broad shelf above me as I write this) and her mate BigFeet2 (although his foot-feathers are not as long as they used to be so his feet do not look as big as they did when he was a chick two years ago).

The twenty-one this morning included the second lot of chicks that have come down, three altogether.

One came down much sooner than normal. It either fell or was pushed out of the nest and I found it trying to make its way about on the ground, wailing to be fed. I suspect that it was the smallest in a clutch of three and as its siblings grew there was no longer enough room for it. But for whatever reason it was not nearly as well fledged as chicks normally are when they come down for the first time. They can usually fly. It could not, even walking was not easy, and there was a lot of red skin visible. I picked it up and took it up to where the other doves were; it tried every one of them to get fed, and none did, so none were either parent.

At night it went under the building and found a place to sleep in leaves that had drifted in there. The flash makes it look like day but it was of course black night and it was asleep. To my relief no stray cat or rat got at it, and it must have found a parent, because it grew. One night I saw an adult with it, keeping it company. How sweet!

Then it was joined by what seem to be its siblings. One I call HugeFeet2, because the feathers on its feet stick out so far that it looks as if it has huge feet and there was already a HugeFeet in the first chicks this season. The other I call Flecks because it has flecks of black across the top of its tail.

They move about so fast that it is hard to tell, but it seems that all three are being fed by the same adult, and they like to be together, and nestled together underneath at night, so I think they are siblings.

HugeFeet2 soon learnt to peck up food from the ground, as you can see, then Flecks worked it out. Even the little one has now. It is funny to see them crying and flapping their wings at the ground at first as if it were a parent and they had to persuade it to feed them in the same way..

But they still cry to their parents and get fed, so they are not yet completely self-sufficient. But why bother pecking at little bits on the ground if you can be stuffed full in nothing flat by a parent? (Doves are members of the pigeon family, which feed their young beak-in-beak on 'pigeon milk': partly-digested food. It looks a bit like thinnish porridge. Chicks put their beaks into their parents' beaks and their parents regurgitate the food straight down their throats.)

Here is Flecks feeding from the ground this morning and later being fed by a parent.