15 June 2015. Contributed by Yang Pah Liang.
What do you do when you find a pair of Pink-necked Pigeons, Treron vernans, nesting in one of your flower pots? I had banana tree growing out of a plastic pot on my 10th floor balcony. My neighbors told me that these pigeons have been doing this for some years now. Apparently the pigeons have learnt that this is the safest place to nest, away from natural predators.
Throughout the nesting period, the female allowed me to come very close when she was incubating the eggs. But the male was more guarded. It would seemed that they are used to humans and after several successful nestings, they knew that they have nothing to fear. But I would still try not to go to the balcony unless I have to water my plants. Just had to take extra care not to disturb them.
I found two white eggs one morning on the 19th April inside the pot. There were hardly any twits or nesting materials around. The soft soil seemed to be fine with them. Both parents took turns to incubate the eggs. After 12 days, the first egg hatched. The chick was as tiny as the egg, no feathers, Their eyes were still closed. The second egg hatched the next day. Both parents again took turns to sit on the young chicks to keep them warm. I did not see any feeding and assumed that they are sucking the secreted milk from the breast of the parents. The chicks spent the early part of their life sleeping close to the parents, to save energy I supposed.
After 6 days, the first chick became more active and started to venture around the pot. One of the parent was always around taking turns to guard the chicks. The first signs of some dark wing feathers can be seen on the 9th day and they can be seen preening after that. They can now jumped up to the brim of the pot for their first look around and explore a bit.
I had a mini shock on the 14th day. One of the chicks stood on the edge of the balcony. It fell off when I tried to bring it back. I was expecting the worse. I could not find it on the grounds but when I went back it was sitting on the balcony none the worse for it. It must have dropped down to the balcony below and somehow made it way back up. This is the moment that I know for sure that this pair will find its way to join the rest of the wild pigeons at the Botanic Gardens. So thankful to be able to witness close up the breeding behavior of one of our colorful Green Pigeons.