I still call them Rock Pigeons, although their name has changed – along with that of so many other birds – to Speckled Pigeon (Columba guinea). They moved into our garden several years ago, first as irregular visitors and later a pair of them moved into the roof under the deep eaves above my study. This happened when one of the eave coverings fell down after a storm. Then there were two. Of course they have bred over time and last year a second pair moved in under the eaves above the bathroom. Then there were four. As their respective broods grow, we sometimes have up to six feeding on the seed I put out. They also seek food well beyond the confines of the garden though and the youngsters seem to find territory elsewhere in time.
These resident breeding birds tend to have a bad reputation as they love to inhabit high points and so find niches in tall buildings such as schools and shopping malls. They are messy and, some say, noisy. I hear them stomping all over my ceiling, even late at night sometimes, and we regularly have to clean up the droppings and nesting debris on the ground below their nesting sites.
They feed mainly on seeds, although I have often seen them in the Natal fig tree and so presume they might eat those fruits on a seasonal basis. While they frequently perch in the Acacia tree, they have only foraged for seeds on the ground and have never even attempted the hanging feeders in my garden.
Their flight pattern consists of quick regular beats with the characteristic sharp flick or click of the wings as they come in to land on the roof.
I think that their speckled wing patterns, delicate colouring and their large eyepatches mke them rather beautiful birds. The more I have observed them living and breeding in the garden, the more I think so.