Most of my travels take me through rural areas where dairy farms still dominate the landscape. These are priceless visual and ecological resources that attract and support diverse wildlife populations as well as livestock.
Pigeons and crows are permanent residents, usually seen foraging on waste grain in harvested fields or in spread manure.
Once or twice a week I sit in the evening near a field of corn, oats or hay to observe wildlife. Most evenings there is a predictable sequence of visitors, starting with groundhogs, does and fawns.
Small flocks of geese glide into cut hay fields throughout the evening.
Bucks, especially the seasoned veterans, arrive as the sun leaves the fields and camera gear is nothing more than extra weight.
The last light of the evening, in the clouds. Somewhere below the cloud, in an open field on the highest hilltop, was the dark silhouette of a huge buck. It was his time.
Flocks of “barnyard” pigeons ((Rock Pigeon, Rock Dove, Domestic Pigeon) are common residents on most farms in the area, but I never see pigeons around our house or bird feeders.
At the start of yesterday’s morning trail walk, a gray, sun-lit object in the middle of the trail startled me. I approached, shooting as I went, thinking it might be an injured animal. Turns out it was a pigeon — but not just any pigeon.
It was a tame bird, allowing me to get within 3 or 4 meters before it flew. The flight was graceful and swift, leaving no doubt as to its health.
Just before lift-off, the legs became visible and I was able to capture an image of the legs bands, one with the codes “1F” and “NWC”……
If anyone can elaborate on this sighting, particularly the meaning of the band colors and codes, your assistance would be greatly appreciated!
An answer just arrived: IF = International Federation and NWC = Northwest Club (based in Massachusetts/USA). The blue band is a microchip/flight recorder. It’s a racing pigeon!