Shortly after returning to Australia I went for a run in Centennial Park. As a birdwatcher, it takes time to adjust your eyes, ears and psyche to the avian inhabitants of a new environment. On this run in August a flash of white on the ground caught my eye. A common pigeon? No, a crested pigeon with a mostly white back due to leucism. I said hello, took some photos and kept running.
The following week he (I’ve assumed he’s a he; his mate is always close by) was sitting on a fence circling the running track. He looked at me and cooed quietly as I ran past; again I said hi. Over subsequent months I took several more photos as I ran past, the last in December, always in the same spot, always saying hello. Then I didn’t see him for more than two months: had his leucism caught a predator’s eye?
In early March 2021, running through the same spot, a flash of white. I stop. He runs to me, seemingly as excited to see me as I am him. His mate, as usual, keeps her distance. I have no doubt he recognises me: many birds recognise human faces and he would recognise my voice, too. I chat to him for a couple of minutes, he circles me excitedly, and then I get on my way again. This relationship of seven months has me in awe of the world around us.
Author Bio: Timo is a Finn who has spent most of his adult life in Australia, returning recently after a decade in the US. He’s a fashion design academic and lifelong birdwatcher.