All three of these majestic birds were assessed at Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital, they will be released once they are all fit and has the ability to once again fly with the flock at speed, manoeuvring between branches whilst feeding on their preferred fruits of the rainforest.
At this time each year in the Northern Rivers area, you may see large flocks of birds traversing the countryside. They can be observed feeding in the upper forest canopy, hanging from branches, often upside-down, flapping their wings loudly to keep balance. These birds are Topknot Pigeons, they are frugivorous, feeding on small native fruits, berries and seeds from native figs, Lillypillies, Bangalow Palms, Blueberry ash and other rainforest trees. With the clearing of land they have adapted to also feed on the fruit of introduced trees such as the Camphor laurel and Privet.
The Topknot Pigeon is a large and very unique bird; it is much bigger than the Crested Pigeon which is often mistaken for. Topknot pigeons have an unmistakable crest on their head which resembles a large lock of dusty red hair that it uses in its mating displays. The male and female are very similar and are approximately 41cm long.
WIRES NR currently has three of these beautiful pigeons in care, all with substantial feather damage.
Birds that travel in flocks are susceptible to being attacked by raptors, and one of the birds currently in care has a wound from the talons of a raptor, the wound has now healed and it is seen in the picture in a flight aviary with the other Topknot pigeons recovering in WIRES care.
Another was found many months ago by a member of the public, sadly it was kept in unsuitable housing and over the months in captivity sustained severe feather damage. It is a reminder to everyone to please call WIRES straight away should you find an orphaned or injured bird, all have different needs, one of those being housing specially constructed for their needs in order to cause no damage to their delicate feathers.
(It is also illegal to keep Australian wildlife of any kind without a licence)
The Topknot Pigeon rarely comes to ground , so should you see one on the ground that does not fly away when you approach it is in trouble and needs to be rescued.
As for all wildlife in trouble please call WIRES on 1300 094 737
Picture by Julie Marsh