Day 203 – First On Scene…

…At The Kamikaze Dove Incident.

To be fair, when I responded to the message on the neighbourhood Whatsapp group, I genuinely thought that I was heading towards a break-in. That’s what the message said was happening, and so that’s what I thought was happening. The message was from the house owner, and he was on his way home right now. How did he know that there was a break-in happening? I had no idea: but we can sort those details out later.

I got to the house in question pretty quickly, even though I was wearing flops and no-one is at their most speedy when they’re wearing flops. The 200m world record remains intact.

When I got there, there was no sign of a break-in – be it either ongoing or ongone [Is this actually a word – Ed.] and so I made sure that the local security company were on their way and was actually amazed when they arrived with three police vans right behind them.

I didn’t know we had three police vans in our area.

The police were straight over the gate, making a mockery of the razor wire and spikes that people think makes their property impenetrable (especially if you’re wearing flops), and headed into probable danger, their guns not drawn.

Except it wasn’t dangerous at all.

Long story short, a dove (probably a Red-Eyed dove) had hurtled through a glass window in the house (and here I quote the owner of the property upon his return) “and busted himself to smithereens”. The dogs went mad (dogs will do this when a dove comes into the house through a window – be it open or closed) and the domestic who was home alone (well, apart from the dogs and now a shredded dove) heard the smashing window and the barking dogs and panicked.
This was a completely reasonable reaction: this is South Africa, after all.

Everyone was fine. Apart from the dove, which was busted to smithereens.

We’ve all had birds hit our windows before, but generally, they bounce off. I think it’s likely that this particular dove was being chased by our local black sparrowhawk. We have had a couple of explody dove incidents over the last few years which we have caught on our CCTV cameras (on one occasion, the dove exploded when it actually hit one of the cameras) and both of those were sparrowhawk assisted. It’s amazing the speed that a dove can achieve when it’s being closely followed by a kilo of raptor. It’s just sad that they can’t manage their steering at the same time.

And so all’s well that ends well: a false alarm, yes, but no break-in, a decent neighbourhood response and a bit more business for the local glazier. And some dove pie for dinner.

Displacing Bob. Neighbourhood Service.

It’s the last day of the school holidays today. That means that from tomorrow, all hell will break loose on the roads of the Southern Suburbs and (more importantly for the purposes of this post) I will have to get up an hour earlier than I have been for the past couple of weeks.


This is significant, because it means that I will no longer have to displace Bob.

Bob is our local Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiacus). He’s bloody annoying.

Egyptian Geese mate for life, but it would appear that within the last 12 months, something awful has befallen Mrs Bob. She is no longer with Bob. It could have been that she has chosen to fly off with a more handsome Egyptian Goose, but that does rather flutter in the face of that ‘one partner for life’ promise. So I think that it’s entirely more likely that she’s thrown a seven at some point recently.

RIP Mrs Bob.

Bob is either distraught or he’s too thick to have noticed anything except that suddenly, there’s no-one on his wing to do the rumpy-pumpy dance with.

Either way, he lets us know his feelings of sadness and/or frustration by honking very loudly early in the morning from his chosen roosting position on one of the local neighbourhood chimneys.

Bob is bloody annoying.

Tomorrow, Bob won’t wake me up. The combination of the later Autumnal sunrise and my enforced earlier alarm time means that his honks will be drowned out by the sound of the kettle and the kids getting ready for school.

It also means that this evening, I won’t have to take Florence the drone on a spin around our vicinity at dusk in order to locate Bob and then displace him, gently convincing him to select a more distant roost by using an advanced technique known as “flying relatively close to him”.
It takes a couple of minutes to locate him and then literally 20 seconds to get him to sling his metaphorical hook. Easy.

I’m fully aware that this might be classified as “disturbing wildlife”, but in my defence there are two important mitigating factors at play here:

Firstly, he has premeditated plans to disturb me in about 12 hours time, and:
Secondly, if I wasn’t gently moving him on with the drone, I would be throwing stones at him until he left the area. Dangerous to him, local residents and their windows.

This is a quick, easy, painless method of ensuring that everyone locally can get a extra hour in bed each morning. It’s a neighbourhood service that I’m more than happy to provide.