Courtship of Dollarbirds 2: What the eyes cannot see
An earlier posting by Meng and Melinda Chan describes the courtship and mating of the Dollarbirds with images to match. Here, another photographer, Allan Teo, has this fascinating story to tell, with photographic evidence as well. Allen describes how he detected the mating of these birds while a pair was spiraling downwards. Without the aid of his camera, he would have thought that the birde were in play or in a fight. Thus he titles his account, "What the eyes cannot see” to stress the usefulness of the camera in bird behaviour study:
“The human eye can only catch motion to a certain extent. We need the help of cameras to see what is actually happening. To the naked eye, a pair of Dollarbirds seems to be falling off a tree branch and rotating on the way down like leaves. You may think they are fighting but look closer with the camera and you will find out something very different.
“One bird grabs the other by the neck as they rotate. They then turn around and face outwards with their backsides attached and mate.
"When they were near the ground, I am guessing less then 2 metres, they flew apart before they hit the ground.
“The action takes place in split seconds and the camera can capture it. Photography provides another valuable insight into intelligent animal behaviour.”
How true, Allan, how true! I have always believe that images help provide quality bird watching. You can always examine the images at your leisure and detect details that you miss when viewing with the binoculars. We are happy to see that traditional birders are now taking up photography, learning digiscoping and even taking up videoscoping. In fact Ashley Ng, our local digiscoping guru and founder of "pigeon-holes", recently gave a talk on digiscoping to the Nature Society (Singapore), invited by Lim Kim Chuah on behalf of the Bird Group. YC
Thank you Allan for sharing your images (below) and your viewpoint. Top image by YC.