Turtle news is so last month!
As the turtle season draws to a close and the number of Hawksbill turtle sightings diminishes, we’ve had to find other things to get excited about. At the beginning of March we happened to stumble across a Seychelles blue pigeon (Alectroenas pulcherrima) nest, whilst greeting visitors at the beach shelter. A fairly simple nest by most birds standards, but still secure enough to keep the tiny chick safely seated in the branches, patiently waiting to be fed. The Seychelles blue pigeon feeds on a variety of small to medium sized fruits and seeds, including figs and cinnamon, which it swallows whole, regurgitating a milk-like substance to the young chick on returning to the nest.
Over the past few days during quiet moments we’ve wandered down to the shelter to check up on “our” pigeon chick, watching it for ten minutes or so despite the gathering swarm of mosquitoes. It’s grown very quickly, and now it’s left the confines of the nest and hopping around nearby trees when its parents are away. The Seychelles blue pigeon only stays in the nest for around 20-24 days, so no doubt this is a sign our chick will be flying soon and fully independent.
Hopefully “our” chick will reach adulthood and help continue the recovery of this quite spectacular looking bird. Endemic to the Seychelles, and once heavily persecuted – being regarded as vermin by fruit farmers. The population is now fairly stable and breeds on most of the large granitic islands, it was re-introduced to Cousin in 1990 and has re-colonised some of the other small wooded granitic islands such as Aride and Curieuse. Continued success of this species relies on habitat conservation, particularly retention of forested areas.
Though we’ll be sad to see our chick go, there’s always something to get excited about on Cousin!
Volunteer, Cousin Island Special Reserve