There is an old saying that goes something along the lines of, “There are old motorcyclists and there are bold motorcyclists, but there are no old, bold motorcyclists”. If that was chopped and changed to refer to woodpigeons instead it would help me to understand their behaviour. My local woodpigeons are the most nervous birds I know. Getting within 200m of one is rare; normally they are up, up and away at the first sight of me. So when I came across a woodpigeon on a dull and damp day that didn’t mind me watching, I was pleasantly surprised.
It wasn’t doing much to begin with, just sitting there looking miserable as light but persistent rain fell. The rain soon stopped and what was now my most favourite woodpigeon of all time began preening. I like it when birds preen. The ruffling of feathers, stretching of wings and a whole range of unusual poses usually makes for interesting camera time. However, some poses that seem interesting at the time, look weird or just plain awkward later. The delete key comes into its own then.
Ultimately, I left before the woodpigeon did. It just sat there and watched me as I moved away. By repeatedly trying to get close to a nervous bird, even after many failed attempts, the chances increase of finding a cooperative subject and on this day I struck gold. Now everything seems to be back to normal – woodpigeons disappearing before I even get a decent look at them, never mind a decent photograph, which makes the time that I spent with this particular bird even more special.