Thursday, July 6, 2017

Zebra Doves in Waimea Valley, Oahu

If you travel to Oahu in the Hawaiian Islands, there are certain birds you will absolutely see. There are the European Sparrows and House Finches that I also see at home all the time. Then there are the Spotted Doves and Myna Birds, which I never see back home. But probably the most common will be the Zebra Dove (Geopelia striata), which seem to be everywhere, starting with the airport lounge and baggage pickup areas (parts of Hawaiian airports don't have doors or walls due to the nice climate).

As I have mentioned previously, the birds are quite polite as a rule, hanging around for food that might drop, but aren't pushy (in my experience anyway; I have heard they'll land on tables). The doves are native to Malay Peninsula, the Philippine Islands, and Indonesia. As adept island colonizers, they didn't take long to spread to the other Hawaiian Islands after they were introduced in 1922.

It's odd, but despite the ubiquitous nature of these little doves, I've had only fair luck in photographing them. They can be very active, and sometimes I miss opportunities because in being so common, I ignore them. In any case, I got these up close and personal shots during our visit to Waimea Valley on Oahu on our last full day in the islands. Waimea used to be a high adventure amusement park kind of place, but is now maintained as a botanical garden (with a dandy waterfall and swimming hole at the upstream end).

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