Jamaican Columbids

Cockpit Country from “the Alps”

In rural Jamaica there appears to be a traditional pastime of hunting pigeons and doves (scientifically known as the family Columbidae). There are a total of twelve species on the island, of which seven or eight can be expected in Cockpit Country.

So far we’ve seen six of those species, and although we’d like a closer look at some like the Crested Quail-dove, we’re pretty satisfied with our luck so far.

White-crowned Pigeon

Pigeons and doves are known to be quite timid, and they flush easily from their perches into deeper forest where you can’t readily find them again.

We’ve heard from several people that there is a particular hunting season for these birds, so it’s good to know that some regulation is in place to protect the bird populations. We often find shotgun shells on the old country roads I mentioned in my previous post, and when we tell people “we’re looking for birds” most of them immediately assume we’re out hunting, so we need to explain that all our shots will be photographs.

Ring-tailed Pigeon

The other night, John dreamt that he saw a Caribbean Dove, and the next morning he saw one fly away. Maybe if I dream about the Ruddy Quail-dove, which we have yet to see, I’ll have the same luck. (On second thought, maybe we should save our bird dreams for the Golden Swallow.)

(All photo credits: Seth Inman)

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