Collared doves visit the garden most days, to eat sunflower seed from the bird table. They come as a pair, and occasionally with offspring. The younger birds are very similar but don't have the obvious black 'collar' feathers of the adults. I hear that they're a pest in some areas, when they arrive in large flocks, but I've never found them troublesome here. They're very shy, and fly off at the slightest noise or movement. They are though a nice calm presence, when sitting in the branches of the apple tree, close together as a pair.

'Colin Dove'

'Colin Dove' was a rather special creature, and became so much a part of this garden that he had his own section on this website, in its early days ('Colin Dove's Birdy World'). 'Colin' first came to the garden in February 2000, and in time, ate bird seed and peanuts from my hand. If I didn't notice him, he'd land on my head to attract my attention.

His name, in case you're wondering, was the result of one of those conversations you have in a noisy pub, when someone doesn't quite hear you correctly.

I'm still not sure why this particular bird ended up so tame in my presence, so that he'd eat from my hand, as the other doves I can't imagine ever being so trusting. Perhaps it was something about me, at the time - maybe I had more patience. Or perhaps some birds are just more trusting of humans.

Colin carried on visiting for more than two years. In autumn 2002 I realised his absence of a couple of months meant that he might not be around anymore. I always knew he was a wild bird, with all those predators and dangers wild birds face.

It was the fact that he was a wild bird that made his visits so special. It always made the day brighter to see the beauty of that gentle flight, and its perfect landing, in the palm of my hand.

Colin was always a timid bird, easily startled, but he did occasionally fly onto the head or arm of other people apart from me. He didn't approach everyone. The two visitors to the garden who met Colin Dove, on two entirely separate occasions, were feeling sad and particularly needed a visit from Colin. Certainly his presence was always soothing, and, when he landed on your head, also rather comical.

More about 'Colin Dove'

Colin Dove the collared dove, 2002 Colin Dove

'Colin Dove' the collared dove

Colin Dove and his offspring, April 2001

Colin Dove and offspring, April 2001