Wood ducks (Chenonetta jubata, aka maned ducks) are common birds that hang around water, eating grasses, herbs and the occasional insect. They are so pretty and charming. Males (with the ‘mane’) and females have slightly different plumage (sexually dimorphic). You almost always see them in pairs or small flocks of pairs. They are found all over Australia except for the driest parts in the centre. The photos below are of a male.
It was pretty blustery on the North Wall at Ballina (lots of surfers there that morning) and I saw a rock dove (Columba livia, feral in Australia) huddled against the big boulders. It’s unusual to see one on its own, and I assumed it was sheltering from the wind. When I walked back along the same route about 15 minutes later, the poor thing was dead – it had keeled over, revealing leg bands. So I phoned the number on the bands – it was a Port Macquarie number (about 4 and 3/4 hours’ drive south of Ballina) and the bird was a racing pigeon. The woman who answered was grateful I had called – I think it was one of her husband’s. The bird had blood on its wings and she thought it had been attacked by a hawk. Ballina has a lot of raptors – sea eagles, ospreys, brahminy kites, whistling kites and so forth.
I left it where it had fallen – perhaps the crabs will get a meal or two out of it.